The Resilience Built by Children Who Face Trauma Malina Sylvia Rheims Tymchuk Concordia University of Edmonton Abstract Poverty

The Resilience Built by Children Who Face Trauma
Malina Sylvia Rheims Tymchuk
Concordia University of Edmonton

Abstract
Poverty, homelessness and various types of oppression, are only some of the many situations that can alter a child’s life. Children who experience a traumatic event can build resilience if they have a strong relationship with an adult in their life (i.e., teacher, parent, and caregiver). By not having a good relationship with an adult this can cause children’s positive and negative experience to become extreme. For all children, it is beneficial for resilience to grow when the child is young. Some ways children can build resilience is to have the child help others, create goals, have a positive outlook as well as to learn self-care. Therapy, forms of expression, such as art, music, writing, and cooking or baking can be beneficial to impose self-care. By attending activities such as camp children (particularly girls) will be able to create friendships and experiences that will have beneficial outcomes for the balance scale to tilt to the positive outcomes side. Children are impressionable and can misconstrue information said around them. By being prone to misinterpret information, this can affect the way a child interacts with others outside of his or her own home. Information could mean the way the parents treat each other if parents neglect and abuse anyone and the child witnesses it.
Keywords: Children, traumatic events, resilience, goals, mental health, trauma, positive outcomes
The Resilience Built by Children Who Face Trauma
Background to Resiliency
A way to define resiliency is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change,” this definition is based on the outdated view of what resilience is. Now the modern definition is “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.”
This definition is not only about “bouncing back” but also “bouncing forward.” To better understand a child’s development a tool used is called the seesaw or balance scale. On one side there are adverse outcomes and on the other are positive outcomes. By creating coping skills and having positive experiences, this will out way much adversity the child faces. The fulcrum acts as the middle point of where a child mind is at ease in different situations. When trying to build a child’s resilience, it is crucial to pay attention to this scale. If falling to the opposing end of the scale, explosive and irrational behavior can occur. Children can develop resilience with the help from a reliable person around them and skills they learn that will make problem-solving and coping abilities much more manageable.

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Figure 1. When positive experiences outweigh negative experiences, a child’s “scale” tips toward positive outcomes. Credit: Center on the Developing Child.
The Importance of Relationships
Even though resilience seems they are a matter for oneself, it is something that takes a group to help build. By having at least one strong relationship with a reliable adult, they can provide a child with a substantial foundation no matter the circumstance, vis-a-vis caregivers, a parent or a teacher. These strong relationships are a requirement for children to gain the courage to seize opportunities and build their skills. The skills they can build are the ability to control erratic behavior, observe, the capability to plan and adapt to changing circumstances. If a child builds these skills, it will benefit them for the rest of their lives as well as reflect well on the parents and caregivers.

Figure 2. The graph represents family and non-family violence against children, ages 0-17 on the x-axis. The y-axis shows the number of children and youth per 100,000. (Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.)
A relationship that is also beneficial for a child is a trustworthy friend, someone similar in age who can relate or be there for one another. By attending activities such as camp children (particularly girls) will be able to create friendships and experiences that will have beneficial outcomes for the balance scale to tilt to the positive outcomes side. A negative aspect of friendships is that a child’s opinion can be swayed easily and can construe information, this could create more conflict in the child’s life. Another negative aspect is if his or her friends begin to bully the child the child will be more prone to depression, suicide, eating disorders and problems with trust and relationships. Even though there are both negative and positive characteristics of friendships, it is also a learning an experience that could help he or she build up the resilience they need to progress forward in life.
Table 2. This graph exhibits the difference before and after camp can support girls develop resilience.

Figure 3. This image shows the national prevalence that different types of adverse have on families in the United States.
Health Risks and Benefits
Anyone can increase resilience at any point in his or her life, and studies show that everyone is born with an underlying sense of resilience and how to cope through trauma. Biological systems and the brain are the most tractable in the early years of life. Ways to strengthen the underlying foundations are by promoting healthy living. Which starts with a good diet, physical activity regularly, activities that reduce stress and negativity and participate in activities to help encourage self- regulation. When a child sees this modeled by an adult they are close to it formulates the desire to impose those practices on themselves to become more resilient.
Some of the effects of early childhood drama are brain structure, cognitive development, social-emotional development and behavior, learning, physical health and ability to form healthy relationships with others. One direct outcome of a child facing violence affects the manner of a child by producing aggressive behavior and conflict resolution. The research completed by Spaccarelli, Coatsworth, and Bowden, in 1995, found that children exposed to adult domestic violence find their violence justifiable. They also discovered “that adolescent boys jailed for violent crimes who had been exposed to family violence believed more than others that acting aggressively enhances one’s reputation or self-image.”
(Corybledsoe, knichols003, and Lauraflanery (2016)). This research creates many long-term, and some are explained in figure 3.

Figure 4. The image explains the long-term effects of childhood trauma. (Source in the image)
The Environment and Surroundings
The environment encompassing a child is vital to the growth of the child. An environment that is most prevalent in a child’s life is home.
Some challenges that could be faced are household substance abuse; the mother treated violently, parental separation or divorce, criminal household member, neglect and abuse. Neglect and abuse can be shown through failing to provide clothing and food for a child, failing to support a child by showing love and affection and failing to provide medical care. Another place that has a significant presence in a child’s life is school. When a child goes to school, they take everything that happens at home with them. From this, teachers and parents could pick up on symptoms a child shows, which are re-experiencing, avoidance, negative cognitions and moods, and arousal.
Re-experiencing is a means someone goes through that transforms them. Avoidance is the act of avoiding someone or something. Negative cognitions and moods are negative thoughts and beliefs held by the client following an experience which serves to limit current functioning. Arousal is the state of being physiologically alert, awake, and attentive.

Figrue 5. Image shows the different types of adverse experience a child can experience, as well as the percentage out of 100. Statistics based in the United States. (“Adverse Childhood Experiences A re Common”)
Resolution.
It is clear that children who face trauma can build resilience and, can “bounce forward” from trauma because they already possess a foundation of resilience within themselves and can build upon that. The main piece they need to be victorious is to have a trusted adult around them to provide support. If the child does not have a healthy relationship with an adult, the long-term effects of trauma will become more noticeable in their behavior.

References
InBrief: The Science of Resilience. (2015). Retrieved from https://developingchildharvard.edu/resources/inbrief-the-science-of-resilience/Center on the Developing Child (2015)
Volpitta, D. (2014). The Importance of Resilience for Kids With Learning and Attention Issues. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/empowering-your-child/building-on-strengths/the-importance-of-resilience-for-kids-with-learning-and-attention-issues
K., C., ; L. (2016, April 20). Eyewitness: The effects of witnessing domestic violence on children. Retrieved from https://nomoviolence.wordpress.com/category/violence-rising/
Sinha, M. (2010). Child and youth victims (0 to 17 years) of police-reported violent crime, by family and non-family members and age of victim, Canada, 2010 Digital image. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2012001/article/11643/11643-3-eng.htm
Masten, A. S. (2011, April 18). Resilience in children threatened by extreme adversity: Frameworks for research, practice, and translational synergy | Development and Psychopathology. Retrieved from https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/development-and-psychopathology/article/resilience-in-children-threatened-by-extreme-adversity-frameworks-for-research-practice-and-translational-synergy/DEC2D214DEF5E55769B1A5E8D33CA9D3
Goldstein, S., ; Brooks, R. (2013). Handbook of resilience in children (2nd ed.). New York: Springer.

Davidov, M., Knafo-Noam, A., Serbin, L. A., ; Moss, E. (2015). The influential child: How children affect their environment and influence their own risk and resilience. Development and Psychopathology, 27(4pt1), 947-951. doi:10.1017/s0954579415000619
Child Abuse and Neglect. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/What-to-Know-about-Child-Abuse.aspx
How Does Trauma Affect Children? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://traumaawareschools.org/impact
Negative cognitions. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://behavenet.com/negative-cognitions

Tables

Table 1. Means and Standard Deviations of Resilience Factors According to Gender of Children
Aziz, A. (2015, January). Means and standard deviations of resilience factors according to gender of children (N = 502). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280936136_Trauma_PTSD_Anxiety_and_Resilience_in_Palestinian_Children_in_the_Gaza_Strip

Table 2. This graph exhibits the difference before and after camp can support girls develop resilience.
Whittington, A., ; Aspelmeier, J. (2017, November). Change in Resilience After Camp Participation Digital image. Retrieved from https://www.acacamps.org/resource-library/camping-magazine/developing-resilience-girls-through-camp-experiences

Figures

Figure 1. Center on the Developing Child(2015) When positive experiences outweigh negative experiences, a child’s “scale” tips toward positive outcomes.. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Resilience-scale-1.jpg

Figure 2. Family includes parents, siblings, extended family members and spouses. Non-family includes acquaintances, friends, neighbors, authority figures (e.g., teacher, daycare worker), dating partners, criminal relationships, business relationships, and strangers. Excludes incidents where the sex and/or age of victim was unknown and where the relationship between the victim and the accused was unknown. Excludes spousal victims under the age of 15 years. Rates are calculated on the basis of 100,000 population. Populations based upon July 1st estimates from Statistics Canada, Demography Division. (Sinha, “Child and youth victims (0-17 years) of police- reported violent crime, by family and non-family members and age of victim, Canada, 2010″2010)
Figure 3. This image shows the national prevalence that different types of adverse have on families in the United States.

Figure 4. The image explains the long-term effects of childhood trauma. (Source in the image)
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Figure 5. Image shows the different types of adverse experience a child can experience, as well as the percentage out of 100. Statistics based in the United States. Adverse Childhood Experiences A re Common Digital image. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://acestoohigh.com/2012/10/03/the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study-the-largest-most-important-public-health-study-you-never-heard-of-began-in-an-obesity-clinic/

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