Many children are resilient despite dysfunctional families and communities. Resilience theory and research describe families’ positive impact on children’s resilience, yet it can often be challenging to identify these factors in children’s multi-problem families. Strategies for enhancing family resilience can strengthen the family treatment approaches that are commonly used to help children. This paper explains how family resilience influences children's resilience and applies this knowledge to a case example of a struggling family. It proposes methods for identifying and enhancing family protective factors that support children’s resilience.

Key Take Away Points

  • It is challenging to identify strengths in multi-problem families
  • Family strengths and resilience promote children’s resilience
  • Resilience-based family interventions can help families and children become more resilient.

Author Biography

James P. Coyle, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. His research examines family resilience and its impact on children and also how community resilience affects families and residents. In addition, he studies how educational curricula and methods can help students acquire social work practice skills. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in social work practice involving individuals and families, and he also teaches professional writing skills. His research and teaching reflect 25 years of social work practice in child welfare, mental health, and family services.

Responses to this Article:

Susan Landry, Commentary on "Resilient Families Help Make Resilient Children" (November 2011)