Dandelion Children vs. Orchid Children

Flowers are a fitting metaphor for how different children respond to the environments they’re raised in, according to new research from the University of Arizona. “Dandelion children” can adapt to a variety of environments and do quite well, but “orchid children” are far more sensitive to context, withering in poor environments and blooming in robust ones. This “biological sensitivity to context” has to do with how kids naturally relate to environmental stress, and it influences both their psychological and physical well-being. Orchid children in positive homes do exceptionally well, often outshining their peers, but these same children in rougher surroundings are more prone to depression, substance abuse, and crime. Sadly, this latter group is in greater need of counseling and therapeutic support, but  less likely to have access to it.

© Copyright 2011 by www.GoodTherapy.org - All Rights Reserved.

The preceding article summarizes research or news from periodicals or related source material in the fields of mental health and psychology. GoodTherapy.org did not participate in or condone any studies, or conclucions thereof, that may have been cited. Any views or opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org.

  • 7 comments
  • Leave a Comment
  • Evan

    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:50 AM

    Although giving the best to one’s child is every parent’s wish and it is something that every parent strives for,it would be great if more parents start to see the bigger picture.They need to let their children have exposure and to know what the world is and how different things can be.This would be a life lesson that would immensely benefit the child all throughout his life.

  • AvA

    February 3rd, 2011 at 5:29 AM

    I was definitely a dandelion child. My family had their own business so the hours were crazy for all of us but I was still able to just go with the flow. There are some people who could have never adapted in that way. They have to have a strict regimen to flourish. I guess I did okay given the circumstances.

  • derrick c

    February 3rd, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    if you take one plant from it’s environment or suited soil and put it in another it will definitely have troubles and this is what happens with kids too. and staying with the similarity,some kinds of plants are not adaptable, just as kids are in our world!

  • SteveH

    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Yes there are some children who are resilient and who can handle any change that comes their way. But I think that there are far more who need discipline and sameness, that is the only way that they can function. When you throw too much change at them, and especially too quickly it throws them for a real loop and they can’t handle that pressure. And these are the kids that I think that for the most part you see doing poorly in school and having behavioral problems too. Why adults do not understand that they need to live their lives to make those of their children better is kind of beyond me. Yes kids can turn your life upside down, but in a good way. You owe them their best.

  • Natasha S.

    February 3rd, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    Adaptability is a good trait but adaptability in excess is not good either…When their are unfavorable changes and forced changes brought upon a person,he/she should be able to stand up and call for a review of the changes made, and not just absorb those changes just because he/she is too adaptable…It may be harmful in the long run to accept such changes, you know…

  • Charlotte

    February 6th, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    Some kids look like they are able to take way more than they can. They put on a happy face on the outside while on the inside they bury the pain. That is never a good thing.

  • Elaine

    October 24th, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Surely this is seriously old news! Has NOBODY here heard of the concept of “goodness of fit”?
    The compatability of a person’s temperament with their surrounding environment is known as “goodness of fit”. It is made up essentially of two components: the BEHAVIOURAL FIT and the EMOTIONAL FIT.
    The concept can easily be applied to parenting – where it describes the happy coincidence, wherein a child’s personality traits mirror those of the parent, leading naturally to a strong mutual bond. It is to be noted, that a “poor fit” can also occur, where the child’s personality is so dissimilar to that of the parent, as to lead to a disrupted, or possibly no, bond formation.
    Wow! You lot REALLY do need to get to know your ATTACHMENT THEORY. Try reading John Bowlby, one of the earliest proponents of the notion. Or maybe Mary Ainsworth.
    Really! “Dandelion children and Orchid children”! This is little other than a reworking of Attachment Theory, dressed up as something else.
    Oh, and by the way… the notion that some children can survive, and possibly even thrive, despite disadvantageous living conditions and a poor start in life, is known as RESILIENCE (also psychological resilience/ emotional resilience/ hardiness). It might surprise you to know that this concept, too, EASILY PRE-DATES the “Dandelion vs. Orchid child” stuff.
    PLEASE, TELL ME SOMETHING NEW!!

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

2 Z k A

 

* All fields are required.

Advanced Search

Search Our Blog

Title   Content   Author

Recent Comments

  • Tiffany: I am a registered yoga instructor, currently in the Master’s in Science program at The University of North Texas. I am interested in...
  • jessica: Betrayal can come from manipulating someone to get ahead. I work with my ex and he did exactly this to me. He broke up with me and he has...
  • Claire: Do you see her now?
  • Martha: Not sure that I would say that my hobbies bring me happiness, but they do help me to relax when I knit, which is what I like to do in my...
  • sally: aaahhh they do all of these stupid things like drink or use drugs to get their courage up and then end up committing these horrible mistakes...
GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on GoodTherapy.org.