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  • Kymberly Larson

Family Stories that Increase Child Resilience

Stories-since the moment we are born we are surrounded by stories. They play an important role in one’s view and understanding of the world. FamilyBind’s mission is to help parents and grandparents share the stories that matter most, the stories that bind families together. We believe that doing so improves individual and family life. But don’t just take our word for it-there are numerous studies that show the benefits of family stories!


One such study consists of three researchers who wanted to discover if more knowledge of their familial past led to positive qualities in children. These researchers, Robyn Fivush, Marshall Duke, and Jennifer Bohanek, asked children twenty questions about their family, such as “Do you know how your parents met?” The questions were specifically chosen so that the child could not know the answer firsthand but must have learned it from stories that the family shared. The children’s answers to these questions determined their DYK (Do You Know) scale score, with more knowledge of family history resulting in a higher score. They found that higher DYK scores were related to higher control and self-esteem as well as lower anxiety.





To follow up on this study, Fivush, Duke, and Bohanek turned their attention to how family stories could play a role in adolescent’s identity development. They asked adolescents to complete the DYK questions as well as some psychological tests concerning family functioning, identity, and well-being. By comparing these results, they found many correlations between the DYK scale and better family functioning. Higher self-esteem and a more developed identity were also significantly connected to a higher DYK Score, even when accounting for general family functioning.


Two months later, the tragedy of 9-11 came. None of the families had been impacted directly, but they all experienced the same national trauma. Going back and reassessing the children, these researchers found that the children who were more resilient and able to manage the stress were the ones who had a higher DYK Score. These patterns show that having a strong sense of family connection is beneficial in many ways for children and adolescents.


Such sure footing is necessary when times get turbulent, whether it be 9-11 or the recent pandemic. In a time of uncertainty and change for many, taking the time to share family stories can help children have a home and a place of refuge. Help your children know who their ancestors were and share the stories that matter.


To Download the Do You Know Questions Visit this Link: www.familybinds.org/20questions

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