Grow Your Know – May 2015
The Key Ingredient to Help a Child Succeed
by Suzanne Dubois
What does it take for a child to succeed? Ask ten people and you’ll likely get ten different answers! Fortunately, we have some help because the topic has been researched extensively (who doesn’t want to know how to help children be successful?!), and there is some consensus as to what a child really needs to succeed.
While being able to provide the basic necessities (like food and a bed), and providing access to a good education are important and helpful, what seems to be even more important is an attentive and responsive parent.
According to How Children Succeed by Paul Tough, a study showed that “environmental risks, like family turmoil and chaos” can create high stress in a child’s life and have profound negative effects on behavior as that child grows up. Amazingly, these effects can dramatically decrease when that child has a caring and responsive parent. High quality parenting can “act as a powerful buffer against the damage that adversity inflicts on a child’s stress-response system.”
Global Hope has been studying this kind of research for years because it’s important to the kind of support we provide the children under our care. It’s not enough to just provide food and a roof over a child’s head. For a child who has been through the trauma of losing a parent, or being abandoned, or not being adequately attended to in their needs, they must be under the care of a loving and trusted adult who will be in their life long term, and can begin to do the repair work to build a new secure attachment. As this relationship strengthens and bonds grow strong the likelihood of that child’s success increases exponentially.
One of the boys under our care, Vasi, was abandoned right after he was born. He never established a secure attachment as an infant and his tumultuous childhood exhibited that. A year ago we were able to place him in a foster care home with a mom who has showered him with love and has been “attentive and responsive” to his needs. We have seen a big improvement in his behavior and his attitude. In fact, he recently told us: “Last summer I began to feel the love of a mother. I never knew what that felt like but now I have it every day. It’s the best feeling ever!” Here is a child who is on the road to success!
Read more in the May 2015 Newsletter: