To start off, the good news: children are resilient. They can overcome anything that they manage to survive. They show time and time again their strength and ability to recover during times of adversity, and even a potential to grow from bad experiences. Now for the bad news: recovery isn't automatic. Nor is it always likely. A child needs the right environment to recover, and that's something that unfortunately isn't always afforded to them. While there is not a single child on the face of this earth who is not capable of recovering from extreme adversity, through one mechanism or another, not all are provided with the comforts they need to heal. When this happens, wounds are left to fester, to grow, to become buried deep into a child's psychology. Nor can a child recover from an environment or situation that never gets better. There are limits to our children's seemingly super-human powers of resiliency, and every child can succumb to their kryptonite.
Why does one child endure an adverse event and become permanently scarred, while another can experience that exact same event and grow from it? The resiliency to conquer adversity is not something a child inherits. It's something that's developed through the proper comforting, support, and the ways of thinking about life that a child learns through his or her caretakers. Adopting the right attitudes and outlook about life often spells the difference between devastation and resiliency.
Even otherwise good environments can breed bad healing through the wrong types of psychology, and far too often what parents consider a natural or helpful response is the worst thing they could possibly do. That's where this series of books hopes to come in. They are intended as a guide to help parents see their children through the worst possible times in the best possible manner. After all, as Rusk & Rusk (1988) point out, it is not adversity but improperly comforted hurt that will lead to psychological wounds. In the grand scheme of things, it will not be the experiences your child endures that will determine their welfare, but the manner and competence to which you help them through these experiences that decides their future. With that in mind, let's start out by learning some important principles about children and how these relate to dealing with adversity.