Last month, I wrote about the first of three basic needs of a child: sound nutrition and healthy activity. This month, I would like to reflect with you on the second basic need: the importance of stable, nurturing relationships in families, early child care and education, and schools.

A few weeks ago, I attended the International Meeting on Indigenous Child Health sponsored by the Canadian Paediatric Society and the AAP. This year’s topic was “Resilience, Our Ancestors’ Legacy, Our Children’s Strength.” During the conference, I heard story after story of how pediatricians are helping families and communities to rebuild historically fractured relationships, strengthen support for families and empower youth to connect with their communities to build resiliency in the face of generations of adversity.

I also heard stories from adults affected by abuse, emotional neglect, parental substance abuse and bullying at school. They talked about their efforts to recover their...

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