The We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids [NOOK Book]

Overview


Wouldn’t it be nice if your child committed herself to doing a simple act of kindness every day? As today’s culture seems to grow more self-centered and obsessed with “me,” Dr. Michael Ungar refreshingly points the way to raising “we” thinkers. Perhaps most inspiring about Ungar’s findings: today’s kids are eager to help out and be noticed. What they need, though, is compassion, encouragement, and attentiveness to their most important connections—those made at home. By recounting the inspiring stories of his ...
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The We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids

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Overview


Wouldn’t it be nice if your child committed herself to doing a simple act of kindness every day? As today’s culture seems to grow more self-centered and obsessed with “me,” Dr. Michael Ungar refreshingly points the way to raising “we” thinkers. Perhaps most inspiring about Ungar’s findings: today’s kids are eager to help out and be noticed. What they need, though, is compassion, encouragement, and attentiveness to their most important connections—those made at home. By recounting the inspiring stories of his work with families, Ungar reveals how the emotional bond kids crave and the support adults provide can help our children realize their full potential. Filled with practical tips, this guide will inspire every child and adult to be their best, most giving self.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Can the “Me Generation” of baby boomers raise a “We Generation” of consciously compassionate, less self-involved kids? Canadian psychologist Ungar believes so and has written this guide for parents to help them foster in their offspring a spirit of volunteerism, a willingness to “give back” and a directive to do well by doing good. Each of these eight, action-oriented chapters offers anecdotes, self-evaluation tools, lists of activities and boxed tips as it addresses part of a plan for overcoming the problem of self-centered kids, starting with recognizing and learning that kids want to help and make changes; that compassion leads to connection, which leads to responsibility; how grandparents, neighbors and other parents can join forces; why parent-child affection is so important; how to guide kids spiritually and emotionally; how to avoid kids' isolation and anonymity in society; and strategies for generating excitement about being part of a wider world. Critical to all this is parents' commitment to model what they want to see in their kids. While this book may raise more questions than it answers—can kids who do community service only for college application profiles grow a conscience? or what about rebellious kids who do the opposite of their parents?—it is timely. Just as cardigan-clad Mr. Rogers embodied this concept in his PBS neighborhood, Ungar reframes it for today's families. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Michael Ungar:
"Too Safe for Their Own Good offers us fresh, powerful and deeply relevant ideas about the developmental needs of teenagers. Ungar’s thought-provoking book is both wise and practical. All of us parents, therapists and educators who work with adolescents will benefit from his ideas on what teenagers require for optimal growth. This is a paradigm-shifting book." — Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786746002
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 323 KB

Meet the Author


An internationally recognized expert on resilience in youth, Michael Ungar, PhD, is a clinician and research professor at the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University. He lives in Halifax, with his wife and two children.
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Read an Excerpt

Preface

I started writing this book on the day the principal of our local elementary school told me about a conversation he’d had with a parent of one of his eleven-year-old students. Driving home after work, he’d passed the boy playing road hockey with his friends. When the principal waved hello, the boy shouted back, “F– you!” and then, with a big smirk, went back to his game. The next morning, with a defiant boy in his office, the principal phoned the boy’s mother. He was astounded when she told him, “You have no right to discipline my son. He was off school property and it was after school hours. You have no say over what he does. I’ll decide what to do with him, not you.”

The principal stammered, “I see,” and hung up. He still gave the student a detention, but he wondered later what would become of such a boy.

I wasn’t that surprised by the mother’s response. I’ve seen fathers at my children’s soccer games yell insults at thirteen-year-olds on opposing teams. I’ve seen parents at the university where I teach hire lawyers to defend their sons and daughters who have been caught plagarizing. I’ve seen a mother of a three-year-old complain angrily to a daycare worker that another three-year-old was bullying her child by not getting off the playground swing quickly enough.

While parents don’t consciously raise their children to be self-centred, there are subtle and not-so-subtle things we do that teach our children to think about themselves (“me”) first, and about others and their own connection to those others (“we”) second. We can decide to consciously steer our children in the direction of more socially responsible behaviour. I’m convinced their generation has the potential to become far more connected with others and more compassionate than the generation raising them was raised to be (that’s us). In the pages that follow I’ll show how to raise children to think We during these Me-thinking times.

ON-LINE BUT IN NEED OF TOUCH

Say the phrase “connected kids” and most parents think about an Internet generation of MSN-chatting, online-gaming, text-messaging, and YouTube-surfing young people. They think of children sequestered in their bedrooms surrounded by technology, hardly wanting to break for dinner. This book is about a different kind of connected child.

Despite appearances to the contrary, our kids still crave old-fashioned flesh-and-blood connections with their parents, and with lots of other adults in their communities besides. They have a need to feel close to those who populate the “village” that raises them. But our children, whether they are five years old or fifteen, need parents most.

One parent or two, step-parents, or a caring grandparent who takes over when necessary — it doesn’t really matter who’s doing the parenting as long as it includes modelling the compassion that nurtures children’s own caring instincts. When we show children compassion, the odds are that they will grow up giving a damn about others, and caring about people in their families and communities as much as they care about themselves. They’ll become a We Generation.

Raising children to think We might just help us rethink some of our own Me-thinking ways. Afer all, many of us grew up in Me-thinking times. We feel guilty about driving huge gas-guzzling vehicles, but keep driving them to get our children safely to school or hockey practice. We try to forget the impact our actions have on the environment, while our children in the back seat report what their teacher said about global warming and our environmental “footprint.” We don’t mean to segregate our communities, but choose to live in gated communities just the same. We blush with embarrassment when our children finally notice that the poor people have been pushed away. We mumble something about “That’s just the way it is,” or make a donation to the food bank, but we are shy to say anything about how our choices are part of the problem. We want our children to have access to every available medical and social service imaginable, but we look for ways to avoid paying our taxes, hoping someone else will foot the bill. We don’t mean to be so self-centred, but as individual adults, we haven’t shown much inclination to take responsibility for the fiscal, environmental, or social liabilities we are leaving our children. It is a small step from such selfishness to the actions of the parent who excuses her son’s belligerent behaviour when his principal calls home.

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Table of Contents

Introduction The We Generation 1

Ch. 1 Parents Matter 23

Ch. 2 Connected Kids 51

Ch. 3 Adult Mirrors, Adult Mentors 75

Ch. 4 Please Touch 103

Ch. 5 The Best and Worst of Connections 133

Ch. 6 An Invitation to Responsibility 163

Ch. 7 Monster Homes Make Monstrous Children 183

Ch. 8 Village People 217

Conclusion: We-Thinkers 245

Acknowledgments 261

Appendix Answer Key to "How Connected Are Your Kids?" 263

Notes 265

Index 271

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Thought-Provoking and Intelliegent!

    This book will make you think about the the values with which you were raised and about what you have deliberately (or unconsciously!) told your own children. I shared it with my adult son and we have had many a spirited discussion, using the chapters as a guide for initial concepts... If you are rigid, this will be uncomfortable, but still productive. I am very glad I bought it!

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