Author: Malcolm Hill, Anne Stafford, Peter Seaman, Nicola Ross and Brigid Daniel
Institution: University of Glasgow, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Full reference: Hill, M, Stafford, A, Seaman, P. Ross, N & Daniel, B. (2007) Parenting and resilience. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, University of Glasgow.
Resilience has positive connotations and entails understanding and seeking out good outcomes for individuals or families in circumstances where problems were to be expected. The term is generally accepted to imply doing better than expected in difficult circumstances. Traditional study of child development identifies ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ patterns. A resilience approach means looking for strengths and opportunities to build on, rather than (or alongside) problems or deficits to be remedied or treated.
The review draws on important UK-based publications on resilience and includes more selective references to the comparatively huge American literature, as well as significant material from elsewhere.
This review considers parents’ actual and potential contributions to children’s resilience and to parental resilience, which is sometimes subsumed within ‘family resilience’. It is proposed that it is best to see resilience, not as an enduring personality trait or as an outcome, but as an evolving, interactive process between an individual or family and the features of their environment (Rutter and Smith, 1995; Gilligan, 2001; Schofield, 2001).
The same person or family may show resilience in response to one type of stress but not another. Within a family the responses of different members often diverge. Wherever resilience is located, the research evidence does tend to converge around the pivotal role that parents play in children’s resilience.