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Can a victimized child be resilient?


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At the heart of Chapter 1 Can a victimized child be resilient? are three main sets of problems. Given that this is the first chapter, its aim is to provide theoretical background to the problems analysed in the subsequent chapters. The first part outlines the social and legislative context of the Slovak Republic with regard to the problem of domestic violence. The authors focus attention on recent legislative changes which have brought new ideas in our approach to the domestic violence issue. The second part of the chapter is focused on the definition of the concept ‘resilience’, analysing approaches to determining the resilience of a victimized child. At the centre of attention are the protective factors of resilience, the presence of which have been verified in our research and results of which are presented in scientific infrastructural databases. From the researched protective factors, we choose one: parental support, specifically the mother’s, as a factor of resilience in the victimized child. In the context of parenting support, it is the mother who plays an important role. According to the research results, children of mothers who are able to provide a more solid parenting environment typically develop a stronger attachment and fare better over time (Levendosky et al., 2003). Research into domestic violence shows that the mother's capacity to provide her child with effective coping mechanisms and conflict resolution strategies, despite exposure to violence in the home, significantly affects the child's social and emotional competence (Hines & Saudino, 2002). In the last part of the chapter the authors analyse the partial results of the research carried out within the VI.C.T.I.MS. project. Interpretation of selected results is carried out within the reference framework of research into a child’s resilience; the authors specifically concentrate on the pattern of results of our own research which enable us to interpret mothers‘ behaviour (as a protective factor of resilience) in the studied cases of domestic violence. Chapter 2 deals with Self-Perception as a Protective Factor in the Resilience of Children and Adolescents. In the specialist literature, self-perception is often associated with resilience (Karatas, & Cakar, 2011, Salami, 2010, Dumont, & Provost, 1999, Hames, & Joiner, 2012) and can be supposed to function as a protective factor in relation to resilience. This reflects a construct which is well known in psychology and for which a wide variety of measuring tools are available, hence its relevance to research dealing with agents of resilience in children and adolescents. In this chapter, the concept of self-perception is defined and described and the relationship between self-perception and resilience outlined. The results of the research carried out show that it is above all academic competence as an element of self-perception which offers good opportunities for studes of resilience. In this research study, it was this aspect of self-perception which best differentiated between children exposed to violence and the control sample of children from the 4th to 6th class of primary school. Chapter 3 Religion and resilience: a mother’s religious coping mechanisms as a model for her child points to the crucial elements of victimized women’s belief system that have been found to modify the coping strategies and consequently the impact of intimate partner violence. In relation to the resilience of a child exposed to adverse situations, previous research has shown the significance of maternal support (Levendosky et al., 2003) and the importance of the mother's capacity to provide her child with effective coping mechanisms and conflict resolution strategies (Hines & Saudino, 2002). This chapter describes in detail how misinterpretation of certain values (inherent in Christianity) facilitates ineffective coping strategies and contributes to a prolongation of intimate partner violence. As children acquire their religious beliefs through interiorization of values and philosophical beliefs especially from parents, authors suggest that if we are to strengthen a child’s resilience, we have to first explore the religious dimension of the mother’s coping and facilitate positive changes within it. Healthy spirituality can subsequently be a considerable source of a mother’s and also child’s resilience. The aim of Chapter 4 Fatherhood as a factor in a child’s positive development - father and child in the narratives of abused women is to show the importance of the father in the positive development of the child and the creation of his/her psychological resistance. The father’s role in this was underplayed for many years with the mother’s role receiving much more attention. Research from the late 20th century, however, indicated a clear correlation between an absent father and a lack of space for the healthy psychological development of the child. Biller (1989) discovered a correlation between a father’s positive emotional displays and a child‘s ability to cope in difficult conditions, and more specifically, to be responsible for his/her behaviour. Later research found further connections between an absent father and the presence in the child of anti-social behaviour, a lack of positive self-evaluation, immature moral judgement and even lower intellectual abilities. The sections describing the father through the statements of abused women show that fathers play an important role in creating their child’s resilience; aggressive behaviour from the father towards the mother can disrupt the healthy development of the child (chapter 1 addresses this in more detail). An interesting discovery, however, is that despite the described aggressiveness of the father towards the mother, the attitude of a child towards such a father is not always uniformly negative. Another unexpected finding is that the negative presence of a father (i.e. through his aggressive behaviour) need not always result in the child losing mental resilience (not all women reported that their children had started to do worse at school or had psychosomatic difficulties). The role of the father and his influence on the child’s resilience must be analysed in the complexity of each family’s specific system and cannot be considered in isolation; other protective factors such as the mother’s resilience, the personality and intellect of the child, the role of the extended family and the school environment must also be taken into account.
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Les auteurs decrivent une nouvelle echelle illustree de performances perceptives et d'acceptations sociales pour jeunes enfants, extension de la P.C.S.C., etablie en deux versions, chacune evaluant la competence cognitive, la competence physique, l'acceptation des pairs et celle de la mere. L'echantillon est compose de 255 enfants d'âge prescolaire (4-5 ans) et scolaire (6-7 ans)