The Resilient Child

Long before children are able to comprehend the definitions of trust, independence, initiative, competence, and individuality they learn to differentiate nuances and varying degrees of emotion at each social encounter. Children chronicle these encounters by creating a psychological catalog of their social and emotional experiences and make choices based on what they feel. These feelings can elicit a child’s prosocial attitudes of faith, determination, purpose, competence, and loyalty or negative attitudes where distrust, uncertainty, regret, inferiority, or poor self-image can hold court.

Our SUNKISSED FAMILIES contributors explore the significance of fostering a child’s healthy self-identity and social-identity as a foundation for building resilience in children in our series The Resilient Child.

Jeannine Marie Lenehan,

Founder & Principal

SUNKISSED FAMILIES and the Center for Social & Emotional Health



Invite the Joy of the Holidays with Gifts that Really Give

Jeannine Marie Lenehan

Holidays may be a time for exchanging presents, but your child’s most coveted gifts aren’t wrapped under any tree. As parents we understand that the greatest gift we can help nurture in our children is their healthy sense of contentment. It’s a combination of life satisfaction, positive emotions, and healthy coping resources.

A child’s social and emotional health is nurtured by you, so when your child senses you are content they are more likely to express those same feelings.

Your child’s healthy attachment to you also helps foster their sense of security and provides them with the framework to foster other healthy attachments outside your home including peer relationships. This umbrella of healthy bonds promotes your child’s ability to experience pleasure in times of happiness and to feel comforted during times of stress.

This holiday share in old traditions or create new ones. Take a long walk, play a board game, and invite your child to cook with you. Whatever the activity, rituals that include active participation between the parent and child can create moments of meaningful engagement. They create opportunities for us to listen and for our children share.

Storytelling Opens Windows to a Child’s World

Jeannine Marie Lenehan

I loved reading with my children. Even before they were born I enjoyed searching for stories to share with them. During my pregnancies, in the quiet space of my bedroom, or under the large oak tree that sat outside our Cape Cod-style home, I read aloud. I was focused on my children getting to know my storytelling voice and me… [Read More]


Parents & Children Coping in Muddied Waters Amid Devastation

Jeannine Marie Lenehan

More than a decade ago my husband, children and I returned from an out of state visit to find our finished basement filled with water, caused by a terrible storm. The water had saturated our walls, furniture, electronics, and destroyed some of our most personal mementos. While it created some sadness and inconvenience … [Read More]


The Dangers of Stereotyping Children

Jeannine Marie Lenehan

Even at 7 years old I had a gut-wrenching feeling that something wasn’t quite right. We watched as our friend Jeanne walked up and down neatly arranged rows of desks filled with a new crop of second graders. Pasted to her chest with her hands was her failed assignment. “Hold it up! Let everyone see it!” Ms. Holman demanded… [Read More]


A Child’s First Faith Experiences

Stacie Clayton

James Fowler described the early stages of Faith Development as 1) Undifferentiated Faith – a pre-stage for future faith development seen in infancy. Children trust caregivers and those caregivers trust easily, and 2) Intuitive-Projective Faith between ages 2 through 7 when their imaginations are forming. They enjoy stories of faith just as much as other stories and enjoy imagining the scenes they are exposed to… [Read More]


The Importance of Establishing Quality Infant Care for Working Parents

Jeannine M. Lenehan

Returning to work and finding quality care for your infant can feel overwhelming. Parents place a tremendous amount of trust in their childcare provider each time they drop their child off. Parents should also understand that their infant’s relationship with their daycare provider is an important one that can influence an infant’s social and emotional well-being. Writing this article turned out to be a personal journey for me and helped me to reexamine my own decisions after the birth of my first child. Here’s what I learned… [Read More]


Understanding Your Child’s Life in Stages

Jeannine M. Lenehan

At SUNKISSED FAMILIES® we are hoping our Life in Stages™ tool is something you’ll visit again and again to utilize as an introduction to our content and as a reflective tool. Our Life in Stages™ tool implements a researched system of ideas and methods as a foundational guideline that we believe can promote hope, will, purpose, competence, and fidelity in children 0-18 years old… [Read More]


Cultivate Trust & Build Resilience

Jeannine M. Lenehan

Abija hides under the shade of the grape vines away from the mid-summer heat, gently harvesting the leaves so they won’t tear. Picking grape leaves is a culturally rich tradition her grandmother shared with her mother and one that has been passed down to Abija. The leaves that hang from the vines have offered welcomed shade for her since she was a little girl. Now as a teenager, she has begun to appreciate the shade and food they provide her family. When her grandparents first arrived in the U.S… [Read More]




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