See how community social pediatrics relies on resilience, attachment, culture and identity to detect, reduce or eliminate the sources of toxic stress that affect the development and well-being of children in vulnerable situation.

The community social pediatrics approach relies on the child’s, the family’s and the community’s resilience to meet the child’s needs and reduce sources of toxic stress. It is based on the idea that everyone can draw on their inner strengths in times of need, at all times and under any condition. These allow people to bounce back when faced with tragedy, to overcome barriers, to adapt to change and to recover from trauma. These strengths are often hidden in children at risk, but “the little flame keeps on burning and never fails” (Julien, 2004).

Hence, we seek out strengths that can be found in the child’s skills, interests, dreams and hopes.

 

 

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Regarding the family, community social pediatrics supports the parents in meeting their child’s need for stimulation, in creating emotional bonds and providing secure attachment to their child, as well as seeking and using the resources needed to ensure the child’s well-being. The family’s fundamental role in passing on knowledge is also taken into consideration.

 

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Finally, community social pediatrics identifies the community characteristics that can contribute to a child’s well-being, including: the physical environment (quality of housing, access to food, health and social services, nearby businesses, green space, communal spaces, air quality, convenient public transit, etc.) and the social safety net and range of relationships that are available to the child (caring neighbours, community groups, access to libraries, cultural events, celebrations and festivals, recreational, educational and sports activities).

 

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References

  • Bredy T.W., Humpartzoomian R.A., Cain D.P., Meaney M.J.P. (2003). Partial Reversal of the Effect of Maternal Care on Cognitive Function through Environmental Enrichment. Neuroscience, 118 (2): 571-576.
  • Briggs D. (2003). Making a Difference – Indicators to Improve Children’s Environmental Health. Geneva: World Health Organization.
  • Brownlee K., Rawana J., Franks J., et al. (2013). A Systemic Review of Strengths and Resilient Outcome Literature Relevant to Children and Adolescents, Child and Adolescent Social Work, 30:435-459.
  • Francies D., Diorio J., Plotsky P.M., Meaney M.J. (2002). Environmental Enrichment Reverses the Effects of Maternal Separation on Stress Reactivity, Journal of Neuroscience, 22 (18): 7840-7843.
  • Julien G. (2004). A Different Kind of Care: The Social Pediatrics Approach. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Park N., Peterson C. (2006). Moral Competence and Character Strengths Among Adolescents: The Development and Validation of the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths For Youth. Journal of Adolescence, 29: 891–909.
  • Sameroff A. (2006). Early Resilience and its Developmental Consequences. In Tremblay R.E., Barr R.G., Peters R.DeV. (eds.), Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. Montreal: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development.. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  • Shaw D.S. (2007). Parenting programs and Their Impact on the Social and Emotional Development of Young Children. In Tremblay R.E., Barr R.G., Peters R.DeV. (eds.), Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. Montreal: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development.
  • Luthar S.S., Cicchetti D., Becker B. (2000). The Construct of Resilience: A Critical Evaluation and Guidelines for Future Work. Child Development, 71 (3): 543-562.
  • Trivette C.M., Dunst C.J. (2005). Community-Based Parent Support Programs. In Tremblay R.E., Barr R.G., Peters R.DeV. (eds.), Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. Montreal: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development.

“Attachment, is a mix of emotions such as love, empathy and pleasure, which connects one person to another” (Julien

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, 2004). Attachment theory is based on the assumption that children’s experiences with their parents or their primary caregivers will have an impact on their emotional well-being. Sometimes, parents have to deal with several sources of toxic stress and they are not able to provide secure attachment to their children. This is why the child is in the centre of the community in community social pediatrics practice and is not considered to be the parents’ exclusive responsibility. This approach calls upon the extended family and other adults in the community (volunteers, teachers, health and social service professionals, etc.) to support the parents in creating an environment that is conducive to developing secure attachment.

References

Culture can be defined as “a more or less organized system of knowledge, codes, values or signs” (Mesure and Savidan, 2006). It has a direct influence on a child’s development. In fact, every child is born into a family that has its own set of beliefs and habits. They follow the example set by previous generations, and adhere to social and spiritual ideas that are part of their own culture. Their parents’ expectations have extremely deep roots and must be understood and respected for the family’s well-being and the children’s future. Considerations and knowledge that may differ from family beliefs, especially of scientific nature, should be shared with parents and families in a progressive and open minded manner (Julien, 2004).

References

  • Bronheim S. (2013). Cultural Competence: It All Starts at the Front Desk, National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. http://nccc.georgetown.edu/documents/frontdeskarticle.pdf
  • Chen X. (2009). Culture and Early Socio-Emotional Development. In Tremblay R.E., Barr R.G., Peters R.DeV. (eds.), Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. Montreal: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  • Julien G. (2004). A Different Kind of Care: The Social Pediatrics Approach. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Mesure S., Savidan P. (2006). Le dictionnaire des sciences humaines. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

In community social pediatrics, culture is a way of understanding children’s behaviour within their environment, aiming to help them forge their own identities and make a healthy transition into adolescence and adulthood. The concept of identity refers to a sense of belonging and filiation. “Identity is a person’s colour, the way he or she is viewed by the world and through history “ (Julien, 2004). It is the essential condition in order to understand who you are and gain self-confidence and self-assertiveness. While growing up, it’s important for children to feel loved and valued and to be able to recognize themselves in someone. Children develop through role models and people of reference. Their main reference points, which forge their identities, are first and foremost the significant adults in their lives and the culture that they pass down to them.

References

  • Julien G. (2004). A Different Kind of Care: The Social Pediatrics Approach. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Julien G. (2004). Soigner différemment les enfants : méthodes et approches, 2nd ed. Québec City: Les Éditions Logiques.