Promoting Resilience: Counseling Grandparents to Raise Effective Grandchildren
Resilience is a word that has its roots in Latin and literally means to “bounce back” much like a tree bounces back after receiving a burst of wind. When resilience is applied to grandparents raising their grandchildren it has implications for the well-being of their grandchildren. Resilient grandparents can beneﬁt their custodial grandchildren who often come to their homes experiencing the trauma of devastating change and overwhelming stressors. It is extremely difﬁcult for grandchildren to arise from the ashes of a broken home and relationships, chaotic family circumstances, and impoverishment to develop into mentally healthy individuals. These grandchildren are frequently faced with adversity, tragedy, and signiﬁcant sources of daily stressors within their families that few of us ever see on a consistent basis-often including the presence of alcohol or drug abuse, and verbal, physical, and sexual assault. Of course, not all multigenerational families experience such negative life events. Nevertheless, the majority we see in counseling do. However, partially due to the resilience of their grandparents (and perhaps partially due to their own resilience), these grandchildren can make positive gains in their self-development, though these gains in development are incremental, generally occur at a very slow pace, and take years or decades to accomplish.