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Resilience makes us stronger

Resilience can be strengthened at any stage in life.

Build Your Own Resilience

You can do a few simple things to help strengthen resilience:


about ACEs and be part of breaking the cycle

Develop and maintain

supportive, healthy relationships

Take Care of yourself

try to get enough sleep, eat healthy food and exercise regularly

Protective Factors

These positive supports strengthen our ability to weather negative life experiences. Several factors encourage healthy development and build resilience in kids and adults:4,5,6

Resilience starts with nurturing relationshipsfriendship networksstrong cultural identitysupportive caregiversconnected communitiesrole models & mentorswelcoming schools

Supportive, nurturing relationships with caregivers and other adults

Positive networks of extended family and friends

Support to develop healthy coping skills

Strong cultural identity

Healthy caregivers

Safe and connected communities

Role models and mentors

Positive school environment

Risk Factors

What puts children at greater risk of adverse childhood experiences? It’s a complex picture. A combination of individual, relational, community, and societal factors can all contribute.6

Lack of understanding of children’s needs, child development and parenting

Parental history of child abuse and or neglect

Substance abuse or mental health issues in the family

Parental characteristics: young age, low education, single parenthood, large number of dependent children, and low income

Unrelated, transient caregivers in the home

Parental thoughts and emotions that tend to support or justify maltreatment behaviours

Social isolation

Family disorganization, dissolution, and violence, including intimate partner violence

Parenting stress, poor parent-child relationships, and negative interactions

Community violence

Concentrated neighborhood disadvantage (e.g., high poverty and residential instability, high unemployment rates, and high density of alcohol outlets), and poor social connections

1.Masten, A.S., Gewirtz, A.H., & Sapienza, J.K. (2013). Resilience in development: the importance of  early childhood. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
2.Alberta Family Wellness (2018). Resilience: Why do some of us bounce back from adversity better than others do? Retrieved March 15, 2018.
3.Benzies, K. & Mychasiuk, R. (2009). Fostering family resiliency: a review of the key protective factors. Child & Family Social Work, 14, 103-114. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
4.Child Welfare Information Gateway (2015). Promoting Protective Factors for In-Risk Families and Youth: A Guide for Practitioners. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
5.Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2009). Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships: Working Paper No.1. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
6National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention. (2019). Risk and Protective Factors. Retrieved March 15, 2018.