Resilience is defined as characteristics or strengths that an individual has that support them through a traumatic experience. These skills allow one to become stronger through adversity and can actually prevent the onset of difficulties related to trauma. These characteristics are present prior to the trauma or attachment disruption and are associated with better outcomes. Factors associated with greater resilience include higher verbal skills, positive social relationships, higher academic achievement, and for children, a positive connection with at least one adult. Resilience can be taught and developed at any point in the life span. Families that are resilience have greater connectedness, positive interactions, and abilities to come together through adversity.
Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG) refers to the ability of a person to make meaning out of negative life experiences in order to become a better person. It is usually demonstrated when a person is changed for the better after experiencing adversity and is more likely to happen if the person had resilience skills prior to the trauma. Some parents who have experienced trauma as a child can demonstrated PTG when their parenting skills are enhanced because of their own experience. Therefore, negative life events, traumas, and attachment difficulties can sometimes lead to significantly improved life outcomes.
Resilience and Post-Traumatic Growth are skill sets that can be learned while young or as an adult. Parents who have experienced adversity can become deeply caring and loving parents for children who have great resilience!