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EveryDay Strong: Teaching kids about family history helps increase resilience []


Resilience, or the ability to overcome challenges in life, is a trait many parents hope their children will develop. Resilient children are more likely to have good emotional and mental health.

Research has shown that children who know more about their families and family history are more resilient and tend to do better when facing challenges in life. This may be because seeing patterns of overcoming failures and surviving hard times can help children recognize that people can recover and triumph, despite hardships. One of the best things families can do is develop a strong family narrative.

In one study from Emory University, researchers developed a scale involving 20 questions that measured children’s knowledge about their family history. Questions included, “Do you know where your grandparents grew up?” and “Do you know where your parents met?” Researchers also looked at family’s dinner-time conversations and had the children take several psychological tests. Results showed that the more that children knew about their families, the higher their self-esteem and sense of control over their lives.

The questions proved to be a good predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness. The questions also showed that children who were informed of their family history were more resilient and handled stress better than those who were not informed. Lastly, children who were able to answer more questions showed greater family unity, less anxiety and less behavioral problems.

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