The Concept of Resilience (risk factors and protective factors)   


Every human being has the ability to be resilient. This can vary in both appearance and expression, all of which can inhibit or promote resilience. Rana is facing changes in her life, having moved countries and started at a new kindergarten. These changes can potentially lead to certain challenges in her development. There are stabilizing and destabilizing factors in terms of child development, and the concept of resilience summarizes these risk and protection factors. These factors can be biological, psychological, and psychosocial (Laucht, Esser, Schmidt 2000: 7-11).  

During life's transitional phases, a large number of demands are placed on the child at the same time (Graf & Seide, 2018). This settling in period for Rana is one of those phases and when approached appropriately, it can help her build prosilience for the future. 

Phases of increased vulnerability

In child development, there are certain stages – referred to in the research as “phases of increased vulnerability” – in which children are more likely to be affected by negative influences in their surroundings. During these times, adults in their lives should be increasingly alert for potential risk factors in the child’s environment (Laucht, Esser, Schmidt 2000: 7-11).

These phases may include:
- The beginning of kindergarten
- The start of school
- The birth of a sibling
- The separation of families
- Moving to a new home/ location

Once risk factors in a child’s environment have been identified, protective factors can be used to help her develop normally and to mitigate or prevent dangerous influences in development. Protective factors can be understood as general resources for healthy child development. Protective factors and risk factors can change over time, and risk factors can also be turned into protective factors (Laucht, Esser, Schmidt 2000: 7-11). For example, Rana’s family can use protective factors such as preparing her for her time in kindergarten, helping her get to know her teachers and classmates and having similar books or foods in the home to help her feel more of a connection to the kindergarten. It is the role of the family to remain positive, reassuring and encouraging the child to succeed during this process.