Discussion Questions: Chapter Seventeen

Hardwired for Resilience

Hurts don’t always become wounds, and wounds don’t always become scars. This chapter discusses the qualities and skills that protect kids from damage and can help healing take place. Resilience can help kids cope, reduce risks, and even mitigate the damage of ACEs.

“When life knocks us down, resilience is what helps us get back up. Resilience is the ability to rebound, to withstand hardship, to repair or rebuild a good life, in spite of all the bad stuff.” (p. 304)

Q: In your own life, what or who has helped you deal with the hard stuff, the problems, the impossible, the pain? What strengths, skills, and/or support did you have that helped you bounce back?

“For children to become healthy, happy, and successful, three fundamental needs must be met: (1) they must have caring relationships; (2) these relationships must convey positive and high expectations; and (3) children must be given opportunities for meaningful participation…. These three positive ‘ingredients,’ … lead directly to positive outcomes—good kids who are caring, competent, and confident.” —Bonnie Benard, author of Resiliency: What We Have Learned, (p. 317)

Q: Think of your kids. Do they have close, caring connections at home or at school? Do adults hold “just right” expectations—high, age-appropriate, and attainable—for them? Do they feel like they “belong” at home, at school, or elsewhere?

“Parents, grandparents, and teachers who believe in kids have great power to build their confidence and resilience from the inside out…. One person can put a child on track for a better future and start an upward spiral. One powerful experience can shift a mindset—and change a life.” (p. 305)

Q: When you were a child, who was the most powerful positive influence in your life? Share with others how they put you on track for health and positivity? (Extra credit: Have you thanked them?)

“What makes children resilient are the inner resources consistently nurtured by moms, dads, grandparents, and other adults who comfort, teach, and play with them. Those fortunate children raised with positive parenting have a reservoir of self-worth to steady and sustain them. They have the internal scaffolding for resilience.” (p. 308)

Q: How the ‘reservoir of self-worth’ that positive parenting provides relate to bullying?

“People don’t build this resilience alone. Gabor Maté explains what helped him survive the horrors of war in Budapest: ‘Resilience doesn’t come from adversity; it comes from love…. For what resilience I do have, I credit my mother. Despite all those terrible circumstances, she did her powerful best to love me and get me through.’” (p. 309)

Q: Of all the ideas presented in this chapter, which is the most helpful for you?


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