Are You An Orchid Or A Dandelion?

“Why are children from the same family so different from each other?” – comes from actual differences in their experiences of the same family environment.” Quote from “The Orchid and the Dandelion…”

I just finished this book, “The Orchid and the Dandelion Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive” by W. Thomas Boyce, M.D. I was intrigued by the title, since I have seven siblings and we definitely are not clones of one another! I work in a school where I interact with students throughout their school day. I wanted to know more about why one child can be sensitive and another one able to let things “roll off them.” Orchid children can have health & mental issues in addition to being very sensitive to their environment. Dandelion children demonstrate a resilience even in adverse circumstances. Why?

“How do genes and environments, especially environments of adversity and inequality, work together to produce known individual difference in susceptibility, behavior, health, and disease?” Quote from “The Orchid and the Dandelion…”

The book is clinical and does a great job delivering on the scientific studies that were done with kindergarten students. The results about their tests are fascinating. Thirty years later eight subjects were contacted to further their study. Read the book to discover how those eight adults have navigated into adulthood.

Interesting to note the author describes himself as a Dandelion and his sister an Orchid. Dr. Boyce sites various examples growing up, as well as into adulthood family experiences that started him on this path in search of “the Orchid and the Dandelion.”

There is a chapter devoted to intergenerational impact that can affect children. How my parents were raised will affect how they will raise me, which will in turn affect how I raise my children. That part of the book was very interesting. It is a good read to gain insight into the frailties and resilience of children who are going to grow up and carry those traits into adulthood.

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