Vulnerability and resilience are two important concepts to understand child development better.
Vulnerabilities are various negative traits and weaknesses that a child may bring from his genetic background, or from a child’s personality:
- Difficult temperament, irritability
- Physical abnormality
The environment also heavily influences a child development. This environment can be beneficial for the child development, or can be detrimental. For instance, a detrimental environment could be:
- Inadequate nutrition
- Insalubrious environment
- Abusive environment
- Parents fighting, divorce
Resilience is the capacity to overcome weaknesses from a child’s vulnerabilities or from the child’s environment. Children are incredibly resilient, and they can overcome most negative conditions, provided that the child’s vulnerabilities are compensated by a protective environment.
The real problems starts when the child is growing in a poor environment, and also has high vulnerabilities, so there isn’t one to compensate the other. Here are some examples of a protective environment compensating for a child’s vulnerability:
- The child has a difficult temperament, yet is nurtured by patient and careful parenting
- The child has a weak health, yet is growing in a secure and safe environment with access to regular, high quality health care
At the opposite, here are examples of a poor environment, which will aggravate a child’s matching vulnerability. These combination will yield the worst outcome on the long run:
- The child has a difficult temperament, and is raised in an abusive context
- The child has a weak health, and is growing in an unhygienic environment