Resilience and small children – even from before they are born
As parents, our biggest wish is that our children will have good life right from the beginning. We also want them to develop resilience to handle the challenges they will meet during life.
It all starts during foetal development inside the mother’s wumb. Both stress and feel-good hormones from the mother have an impact on the development af the child’s brain. The chances that the child’s brain becomes resilient increase when the mother feels good during pregnancy. If the mother is having a very hard time, there is a small risk that the child may become more vulnerable. This is probably a matter of how resilient or vulnerable the alarm centre of the brain becomes (See The Thinking Brain and the Alarm Centre).
When you are pregnant, you meet the same challenges in life as when you are not – in relationship, education, work and leisure time. Some times, being pregnant and giving birth is also a challenge. Taking care of yourself and each other during pregnancy matters to both mother and child.
The Resilience Programme has a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for helping you to take good care of yourself at all times, including in pregnancy. Just take a look around the website.
After being born, everything that happens around a child has an impact on their development. This goes for resilience as well. Here is an example:
Imagine an infant that lies on the changing table, screaming from the top of their lungs – maybe it´s because they´re hungry or maybe because they need their nappy changed. Experienced from their point of view, everything in this situation is awful. When a child in that situation experiences mom or dad to calmly comfort them, there is, in a way, a voice in the child’s brain saying: “Well – this is apparently not as dangerous as I thought” The sensitivity of the child’s alarm centre is turned down ans the child becomes more resilient, in coaping with their emotions and body sensations.
On the other hand, if mom or dad gets agitated (e.g. cries or yells) because the child is screaming, the alarm centre in the child’s brain reacts in a completely different way: “I myself feel bad – and this is apparently really bad, since they act out that way”. The alarm is kind of “doubled up” i.e. the sensitivity of the child’s alarm system is turned up. The child becomes less resilient and more vulnerable. You do not become resilient from yelling and parents’ tears; you only become wary.
On our website you can find a lot of relevant knowledge and inspiring ways to help small children to become resilient.