Friday, 24 September 2010

the resilience doughnut

last week i attended a forum at one of the schools. it was about how to produce resilience in children.
the theory has been developed by a psychologist and it seems to be achieving good things.

so, the whole idea is that there are seven factors influencing a child's ability to thrive
  • education: if a child has a good connection to a person in the education system it's a good thing. the person will most likely be a teacher but it could be the canteen lady or the handyman or the cleaner
  • peers: a strong connection to a peer group, preferably a group with a little bit of conflict
  • money: a strong understanding of the relationship between work and money. kids who get their money too easily or are below the poverty line are both disadvantaged
  • parents: a blend of authoritarian and nurturing parenting styles is the ideal mix. this might be provided by one parent or each parent might fall on one side of the equation, the important thing being a net balance
  • skill: you know what a skill is, right? a kid doesnt have to play violin or something, just to have something they enjoy and do well. it pays to think out side the box on this one
  • community: a strong connection to a community group counts. that might be a sporting club or a faith group or some other connection
  • family: a strong connection with family, even if the kid seems not to like their family

when we want to use the resilience doughnut it is all about identifying which of these factors is strongest for a child (and that's seeing it from their point of view) and trying to get three of those factors to combine in one activity.

we were given the example of a group of young men (peers) who danced (skill) together casually, a teacher formalised the group (education) and those young men, marginalised when they started out, had better rates of school attendance, better grades and the group went on to dance at the winter olympics. there were flow on effects right through all aspects of the doughnut for those young fellas and it improved their chances in life.

the woman who developed the resilience doughnut wants to make money from it so there are books and training sessions and all kinds of things associated with it but even if we can be aware of the fundamentals, i think it is pretty helpful.

i'm also sure that a slightly revised version would be helpful for adults.

to take a look at the resilience doughnut as explained by it's creator click here


  1. I think in order to make sense to an adult they have to go back and see how this doughnut applied to their upbringing.

  2. Proverbs 22:6
    Teach your children right from wrong, and when they are grown they will still do right. {Contemporay English Version}
    Whilst not 100% totally true for every child in their adult life it is a fair "rule of thumb." In terms of this post's main theme the above quote is just another sub text. It will contribute I feel to a child's resilience and the "donut" self help theme.

  3. mark,
    did you think about it's application to your upbringing?

    i posted this mainly because i thought it would be interesting to parents of children and teenagers but it seems they're all confident about their kids or too busy to comment :)

  4. dad,
    at the forum i attended a scenario was described where a child might say "grandma wouldnt be happy with that"
    in this case it would be a strong family identity keeping a kid on track
    i guess most young people have some ideas about right and wrong but they need adequate support to be able to put it into practice. the doughnut helps them to identify where that support might be found

  5. Yes I agree with all that Kylie.
    With due respect to the "donut lady" I think most commonsense type parents and other influencing family members know most of the stuff you ennunciate in the text of your post.

    In some respects I suppose the donut ladt has codified or "formalised" well known principles.

  6. dad,
    what i didnt explain was that this research came about thru mrs worsley wondering why some marginalised young people seem to overcome their circumstances and some dont.
    commonly known principles allow us to understand part of the picture but putting it together this way allows a young person who is unsupported to find their own support, it also allows parents to optimise opportunities for their children. i think the idea of combining strengths is one that even good parents dont always really get
    the other good thing about it is that juvenile courts, social workers and those types of services can be more aware of trying to maintain existing support systems for young people in jeopardy. the appointment of a foster family, for example, might be more likely to take into account the accessability of a favourite mentor figure

    i do agree that much of this is common sense but if it is codified then it can be used by people who seem to have missed out on common sense, which is, after all, not so common :)

  7. Yes, I'd go along with that list. All very important factors. Particularly having an enjoyable skill you can practise throughout your life, and having parents who know how to cultivate a mature, autonomous, intelligent and sensitive adult.

  8. здорово пишете!))

  9. Sofia,

    It's all Greek to me.


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