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In tough times, kids with the '7 Crucial Cs' are the most resilient
In the past few years, kids in the U.S. have had to deal with economic hardship, terrorism and war. But my grandparents' generation dealt with the Depression, world wars and an influenza pandemic. And my generation had Vietnam, Nixon's resignation, a severe recession, gasoline shortages and more.
The world is always an unstable place.
But children have an easier time than adults do being optimistic, and continuing to live, love and play in the face of adversity, particularly if their home environment is stable and loving.
We've all known successful, happy adults who had childhoods full of abuse and instability, and wondered how they did it.
According to a book published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are "7 Crucial C's" of resilience in children.
They're summarized in "A Parent's Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Your Child Roots and Wings," by Kenneth R. Ginsburg and Martha M. Jablow. They are:
Competence: The ability to handle situations effectively.
Confidence: The belief in one's own abilities.
Connection: Close ties to family, friends, school and community (including church).
Character: A sense of right and wrong.
Contribution: When children take actions that improve the world.
Coping: Children who learn to cope effectively with stress are better prepared to overcome life's challenges.
Control: When children realize that they can control their decisions and actions, they're more likely to know that they have what it takes to bounce back.
If you are a parent, do you have the 7 C's? Do you take care of yourself physically and emotionally so that you can model the 7 C's for your child?
How they see you react to stressors is even more important than what you tell them they should do.
To help kids through stressful times, be sure they get enough sleep and exercise, maintain a healthy weight and eat a nutritious diet low in sugar and additives. These things have a huge effect on behavior and mood.
Keep the lines of communication open. Limit TV, video, computer and iPod time, so that they have time to interact with real people!