WKND parenting tips: Why we cannot assume children are resilient

Dubai - Childhood trauma is the source of all pain.

By Kavita Srinivasan

Published: Thu 13 May 2021, 4:54 PM

Last updated: Tue 29 Jun 2021, 4:10 PM

Children are many things: magical, innocent, demanding, pure, exhausting... and above all, VULNERABLE. The one thing they are NOT is resilient. Children don’t have the capacity to understand that parental neglect is not about them, but about their parents... So, they absorb it all and store every ounce of the pain deep inside them. They don’t understand it, so they pretend it doesn’t exist. The pretence catches up with them eventually, as they grow up.

Childhood trauma is the source of all pain, all dysfunction, all unhappiness.

In what world are you calling a child resilient? Who invented that lie? Children can heal with love, attention and presence... yes, they can. But they will not bounce back magically from neglect and abuse.

Please stop believing this lie.

It’s a dangerous one to digest.

It feeds you hatred.

It grows unhappiness.

It breeds darkness.

I’m not resilient. And neither are you.

I coped the best way I knew how — by doing. By running till I couldn’t anymore. And my life has changed. It has suffered from the aftermath of everything I’ve been through. Nothing is the same — relationships I thought were unconditional, are not; people I thought loved me, don’t.

How could they? I didn’t even love myself. Who were they to fill those holes?

Don’t call your child resilient and ignore all the signs. Here are some big ones to watch out for...

• Sudden weight gain or loss

• Bullying

• Tantrums

• Lying constantly

• Hitting, biting and aggression

• Sudden bed wetting, potty regression

• Acting out

• Perfectionism

This is the truth: Children become resilient when they are nourished. They become resilient through accepting their feelings, learning to feel pain and learning how to soothe themselves through you soothing them.

This is the truth: Children don’t learn to be tough by you leaving them to cry it out as infants.

They don’t toughen up with you throwing them in the lion’s den.

They don’t toughen up by not crying.

This is the truth: Crying is essential.

Having a caring parent who addresses the way you feel, is essential.

Being soothed and nurtured is essential.

Children don’t do as you say.

They do as you do.

If you soothe them, they learn to soothe themselves.

If you are comfortable with your feelings, then they learn to accept and embrace theirs.

If you let them cry it out without soothing them, they learn trauma.

They learn the world is an unforgiving place.

They learn fear.

They don’t learn to tend to their inner world.

And then they look for comfort, love and validation externally because they don’t know how to nourish themselves...

Their parents didn’t show them how to.

This is the truth: We are built to feel before we do anything. Our emotional world is our foundation. If we don’t understand it and nourish it, we are broken before we form.

The right side of the brain — responsible for emotions, feelings and intuition is the predominant hemisphere of the brain at birth. We know how to feel before we do anything else. It is how we have evolved and survived as species. The left hemisphere of the brain starts forming at the age of seven — THROUGH the right side. When you turn seven, the corpus callosum — the nerve bridge between the right and left sides of the brain — starts developing. By learning to master our emotions, we teach our left brain how to take action, how to think, how to be logical, how to execute. If the wiring in the right side is faulty, our actions and life choices become faulty. We fail. If we nourish our feelings and create a healthy relationship between doing (left side) and being (right side), we are WHOLE.

How do you create resilient children?

By loving them unconditionally.

By nourishing their feelings.

By teaching them to look within.

By making them feel safe.

Through gentle parenting, not tough


This is the truth. Rooted in science, wired in our DNA. Everything else is a lie. Look within... it is where everything begins. The universe begins and ends within you.

There is nothing on the outside.


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