BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Science/Nature: Specials: Anaheim 99  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
UK Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Anaheim 99 Sunday, 24 January, 1999, 14:49 GMT
Children's guide to survival
Sarah Griffiths
From the BBC's Sarah Griffiths in Anaheim

AAAS Expo
It might sound like a cliché but the support of loving parents, self confidence and a stable family life are what help children to survive - even in the harshest circumstances.

Many of the world's children grow up in risky environments where poverty, abuse, or the danger of being killed are common place, yet some find ways to overcome adversity and succeed in life in spite of these hardships.

This is not because of magical qualities, according to researchers attending the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim, California.

New research suggests that it is the children who are well nurtured who are better at coping in extreme conditions.

Slings and arrows

"There aren't kids that can make it alright no matter what," said Professor Alan Sroufe of the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota.

"If your experience throws enough slings and arrows at you, you're going to fail. But there are kids that, despite the risks of poverty, despite living in high stress, do alright. And the reason is they have the supports available to them."

The research presented to the AAAS meeting by Professor Sroufe and his colleages shows that those supports are built around the family.

In a large group of children born into poverty, those with such emotional backup are able to cope with and overcome their problems, while children deprived of this support had greater difficulty controlling their behaviour and got themselves into trouble more often.

Cafeteria of services

And according to Professor Arnold Sameroff at the University of Michigan, who has conducted similar child studies, this has important implications when trying to deal with such social problems.

"We can't be thinking that changing one thing, like giving everyone higher incomes, is going to change society," he said. "You need a cafeteria of services to meet the needs of every individual family¿which is a tall order."

What the research suggests is that the best way to help children whose lives are at risk is to address the problems of individual families.

It is not magical powers that children need, but rather the ordinary magic of human relationships that gives them the power they need to adapt and succeed.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Audio
Family support is crucial
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Anaheim 99 stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Anaheim 99 stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes