Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings / Edition 3

Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings / Edition 3

by Kenneth R. Ginsburg
ISBN-10:
1581108664
ISBN-13:
9781581108668
Pub. Date:
10/28/2014
Publisher:
American Academy of Pediatrics

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Overview

Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings / Edition 3

This invaluable guide from bestselling author and pediatrician Kenneth Ginsburg, MD, FAAP, offers coping strategies to help children and teens deal with stress due to academic pressure, high achievement standards, media messages, peer pressure, and family tension.

Recommendations guide parents to help kids from the age of 18 months to 18 years build the seven crucial “C’s”—competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control—needed to bounce back from life's challenges.

This book provides a wide range of tactics, including building on natural strengths, fostering hope and optimism, avoiding risky behaviors, and taking care of oneself physically and emotionally. This edition includes new chapters on the topic of grit, stress and how one's perception of stress affects what stress really is, toxic stress, and the protective role of nurturant adults. It also addresses the issue of adolescents responding to stress by either indulging in unhealthy behaviors or giving up completely, and the suggested solutions are aimed at strengthening resilience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781581108668
Publisher: American Academy of Pediatrics
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Edition description: Third Edition
Pages: 330
Sales rank: 162,844
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP, is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and practices adolescent medicine at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings and But I'm Almost 13!" An Action Plan for Raising a Responsible Adolescent. He is the father of 2 children and lives in Philadelphia.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Why Resilience?

Every parent's dream is to raise children who lead charmed, happy lives free of physical pain, worries, and emotional hurt. They'd never break a bone, lose a ball game, or receive a grade lower than an A. Never smoke a cigarette, use a drug, or wreck a car. Never have sex until they're married ...

We would love to live in a world so idyllic that children wouldn't have to be concerned about peer pressure, bullying, parents fighting or divorcing, lurking strangers, disease or death, poverty, crime, terrorism, and war. We fantasize that we could safeguard them from every possible loss, heartache, and danger. We'd like to wrap our children in a downy quilt and insulate them from every misfortune. But even if we could, would it really benefit them?

If we could immunize children from all disappointments and stress, would they ever have the chance to experience the satisfaction of facing a challenge, recovering, and discovering that they are able to cope with tough situations? Would they be able to revel in success or experience joy and pleasure if they never faced some struggle, failure, or rejection? Would they appreciate good fortune if they never knew its opposite? If we could wave a magic wand to isolate children from the pain around them, wouldn't we produce cold individuals incapable of empathy and unable to feel and express love, compassion, or a desire to help others? Would they be prepared to make the world a better place?

No parent wishes any adversity to befall a child, but realistically we have to expect problems. We cannot raise totally invulnerable kids. Our goal must be to raise children who can handle the bumps and bruises that the world has in store. We need to prepare them to cope with difficult challenges and bounce back. We must help them find happiness even when things aren't going their way. We want them to develop deep, strong roots now so that their wings will carry them successfully and independently into the future.

If we want our children to experience the world as fully as possible — unfortunately with all its pain, and thankfully with all its joy — our goal will have to be resilience. Resilience is the capacity to rise above difficult circumstances, the trait that allows us to exist in this less-than-perfect world while moving forward with optimism and confidence.

Resilience is commonly defined as an ability to recover from setbacks, the quality of bouncing back. Resilience is similar to buoyancy. When pushed under water, our bodies instinctively rise back up to the surface. That's a useful image to keep in mind as we consider resilience throughout this book. It's what we want our children to be able to do: when pushed under, rise to the top again.

Resilience is a mind-set. Resilient people see challenges as opportunities. They do not seek problems, but they understand that they will ultimately be strengthened from them. Rather than engaging in self-doubt, catastrophic thinking, or victimization (Why me?), they seek solutions.

Resilience is uneven. A person might be highly resilient in one aspect of life and need much higher levels of support in another. Resilience is not invulnerability, not perfection, not isolation from all risk. Resilience is the trait that parents hope to develop in children so they will be equipped to navigate a stressful, complicated world while relishing its abundant pleasures. Resilience is not a trait of "perfect" people. Perfectionists fear making any mistakes. They perform well but don't take chances to perform at their very best. Resilient people are more successful because they push their limits and learn from their mistakes. Resilience may be a core factor in determining not only who will adapt, but who will thrive.

Stress and Resilience

All children are born with a natural resilience. If you watch a group swimming lesson, it's apparent that kids have different degrees of natural buoyancy. Some float more easily than others, but all children can learn to float. In terms of resilience, some children seem naturally graced with an ability to recover from obstacles, while others need extra support. But all children can become more resilient.

We all recognize how real stress can be. Families are endlessly rushed. Kids are heavily scheduled with academic and extracurricular activities. Friends dare them to take bigger risks. Parents and teachers push them to get higher grades. Coaches demand better performance. The media bombard youth with messages that they aren't thin enough, cool enough, sexy enough, or attractive enough.

In this high-pressure atmosphere, children need to tap into their strengths, acquire specific skills to cope, recover from adversity, and be prepared for future challenges. They cannot do it completely on their own. Parents take the lead in building resilience, but children's ability to thrive is also deeply affected by the community of adults that surround them.

On These Pages

I hope to reinforce the best approaches you already use and help you support children in developing skills that will make them happier and more resilient. We will discuss building resilience in children as young as 2 years and as old as 18 years. I will suggest ways to help them learn to reduce stress and cope with challenges as well as deal with peers and self-doubt.

While resilience is the theme of this book, please understand from the outset that much of this is commonsense parenting. Don't expect each page to address dangers or risks. It's about building on children's existing strengths. Many of the situations addressed may not seem obviously related to resilience development. For example, discipline strategies will be discussed, as they are in every parenting book. The difference is that I intend to show you how to approach some of these issues in ways that tie into an overall strategy to enhance resilience.

Chapter 42 is a special chapter to share with children and teenagers. This stress-management plan can be individualized for every child.

The Resilience Movement

The resilience movement began as an effort to determine why children from the same challenging environment achieve different levels of success. It looked at what protective forces in children's lives buffered them from all that was wrong. This approach remains a stark contrast to the more commonly used approach — learning what went wrong. The leaders of the resilience movement come from a wide variety of disciplines and perspectives. Sociologists look at the social fabric and how it supports or harms communities. Psychologists examine individuals' thoughts and experiences and how they influence their ability to bounce back from difficulties. Anthropologists study human survival and how culture and communities influence resilience. Most books about resilience favor the discipline or interest of the author. I want to offer you the best from all disciplines because kids are whole human beings whose behavior never can be fully explained by any textbook or single theory. So while we have to understand how kids think, we also have to consider the social and community forces that affect them.

There is no way to do justice to every good idea out there about building resilience. If there is an approach that you feel is important to explore further for your child's individual needs, I want you to know where to turn. The Resources section on this book's Web site (www.healthychildren.org/BuildingResilience) can guide you to explore further areas of interest or special concern.

My goal is to present many different ideas about building resilience. I will introduce the 7 Cs model of resilience in Chapter 3. Those Cs are competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control. Every C is a different layer or individual piece of a total approach to blanket your child with protection, while reinforcing his own strengths.

Several essential themes weave through the book. Here is a preview.

* To be strong, children need unconditional love, absolute security, and a deep connection to at least one adult.

* Sometimes the best thing we can do to help children learn is to get out of their way.

* Children live up or down to adults' expectations of them.

* Listening to children attentively is more important than any words we can say. This applies to routine situations as well as times of crisis.

* Nothing we say is as important as what children see us doing on a daily basis.

* Children can only take positive steps when they have the confidence to do so. They gain that confidence when they have solid reasons to believe they are competent.

* If children are to develop the strength to overcome challenges, they need to know that they can control what happens to them.

* Children with a wide range of positive coping strategies will be prepared to overcome stressors and will be far less likely to try many of the risk behaviors we fear.

This is not an instruction manual. I won't give you a list of steps and say, "Proceed from step 1 to 2 to 3." It's more like putting together a recipe, making sure first that you know all of the right ingredients. I want to give you a wealth of material that stimulates thought and debate. Discuss these ideas with your partner or other significant adults in your child's life. I believe you will recognize that you already know most of this information on an instinctual level. This book will reinforce the best of what you know. Never trust an "expert" more than your own instincts about what is right for your family. From working with families for more than 28 years, I know that I could learn a great deal about parenting from each of you. In fact, much of what I will share has been taught to me by my patients and their families.

Using This Book

I hope you will think about the ideas on these pages, try them on for size, and see how they fit your individual children, depending on each one's character, temperament, likes and dislikes, and strengths and weaknesses. Because I hope you will return to this book as your children grow, examples apply to different stages of development.

Most of these techniques require practice and reinforcement. You'll probably need to go back from time to time to review skills and adapt guidelines as your child backslides or moves to a new developmental milestone. You may think you've taught your child a particular lesson or helped him acquire a certain coping skill, but he may not retain and use it. Kids need ongoing support — not nagging, lecturing, or criticism, but gentle reinforcement and practice. Like developing a good jump shot or mastering a musical instrument, skill-building takes time, practice, and patience.

You'll also discover (although you probably already know it) that children mature in fits and starts. Whenever an important, new situation is about to occur, such as entering a new school, moving to a different community, or starting summer camp, your child will probably regress a bit. You may notice this pattern with some children in even less momentous circumstances, such as going to a sleepover for the first time.

Most children take a few developmental steps forward and, just as parents are taking pride in their progress, something challenging appears on the horizon that's beyond their capabilities. Then they regress a step or two, behave as they did last year, or lash out at their parents. This is normal!

Think about how you'd leap across a chasm. You wouldn't stand on the edge and just jump across. You'd take several steps backward to get a running start before you leap, and then cover your eyes as you soar across. Visualize every major developmental stage or challenge as a chasm that children worry about crossing. Don't be surprised when they take 2 or 3 steps backward before their next attempt to move forward. And don't be shocked if they sometimes leap with blinders on.

Please don't feel defeated if you do your best to help your children across that chasm and your efforts seem to fall short. Children are listening, even when they roll their eyes or ask, "Are you done yet?" Keep plugging. Keep caring. You can make a big difference even when it feels like you've slipped backward.

The standard line I was taught over the years was, "Consistency is the most important ingredient in parenting." If that means consistency of love, I agree. But I can't be completely consistent with my own children. Each of my daughters has her individual temperament. On any given day, they may live the same experience, but each requires a different response from me.

I don't mean we have to just go with the flow. We certainly need to have clear, unwavering values, and our love for our kids has to be the most consistent, stable, and obviously expressed force in our homes. Children benefit from knowing that there are reliable routines in their lives. But life is always changing, so we need to give our children and ourselves a break by being flexible. To be resilient, we must adapt as circumstances require, for our own sake as well as to model this valuable quality for our children.

We want to make crossing that chasm a bit easier when we can. We know our children need to get across on their own, but we'd like to help them build a bridge. This book is about giving kids the tools they need to construct that bridge while maintaining the kind of relationships that will make them more likely to welcome our presence alongside them.

Why Me?

My life's work is about guiding youth toward a socially, emotionally, and physically healthy life. I am a pediatrician who has degrees in child and human development and who has specialized in adolescent medicine for more than 28 years at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Early on, most of my guidance tended toward telling kids what not to do. I learned pretty quickly that this problem-focused approach sometimes instilled shame and rarely worked. On the other hand, when youth are noticed for their strengths and expected to rise to their potential, they become self-motivated to overcome their challenges. While my service could spark their motivation, it was really their parents' support that made the long-lasting difference. In short, there is nothing I can do that carries even a fraction of meaning compared with what parents do at home and what communities do to support children and youth.

Outside of medicine, my purest joys have included teaching in nursery school, where I learned more than I ever taught. Much of what I believe about resilience was absorbed on a Lakota Native American reservation in South Dakota. There I learned about the strength of community to help individuals overcome great hardship.

I am a qualitative researcher — that is, I learn about children and teens from kids themselves. I developed a method with one of my mentors, Gail B. Slap, MD, that helps adults essentially get out of the way so that we can learn from the wisdom of youth. This research allows young people to teach us how they determine whether adults are trustworthy and what they think makes a difference in whether they will thrive.

The majority of my knowledge has been acquired from working directly with young patients and their parents. I have a medical practice that is widely varied — I treat suburban and urban youth, children of college professors and children in poverty, some who have thrived despite social inequities and some who have not.

From homeless families, children, and youth, I have learned great lessons about individual strength and the extremes from which people can recover. As the health services director of Covenant House Pennsylvania, I work with homeless youth who have survived lives that would have destroyed me. I am showered with their wisdom about what it takes to move beyond pain and what ingredients could have been in place that would have enabled them to thrive. From them, I know that children and teens have the capability to overcome almost anything. Because many have absorbed a great deal of condemnation and low expectation, some begin to see themselves as problems. I sometimes help them identify and build on their strengths. While I may serve as a guide, they do the heavy lifting. They possess a different kind of credential, one that is earned through survival. I am consistently amazed by how many of them want to devote their lives to guiding children to overcome difficulty. With the right kind of investment in them, we will find many of the healers of tomorrow. From my colleagues who work at Covenant House, I have learned that a loving, strength-building environment that offers structure permits young people to flourish and move beyond a troubled past.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Building Resilience in Children and Teens"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP, and Martha M. Jablow.
Excerpted by permission of American Academy of Pediatrics.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Building Resilience, 3rd Edition
Contents
Acknowledgments
Preface
Part 1 Resilience and Stress
Chapter 1 Why Resilience?
Chapter 2 Stress and Its Effects
Chapter 3 Ingredients of Resilience: 7 Crucial Cs
Chapter 4 Not Letting Others Undermine Your Child’s Resilience
(or Psych You Out!)
Part 2 Competence and Confidence
Chapter 5 Getting Out of the Way
Chapter 6 The Value of Play
Chapter 7 Noticing, Praising, and Criticizing
Chapter 8 Authentic Success
Chapter 9 Thinking Clearly
Chapter 10 No More Lectures
Chapter 11 “I Get It!”
Chapter 12 Changing Behavior Step-by-step
Chapter 13 Shifting the Blame to Save Face
Chapter 14 Media Literacy
Chapter 15 Not Being Broken
Chapter 16 Building Confidence
Part 3 Connection, Character, and Contribution
Chapter 17 Connection
Chapter 18 The Art and Importance of Listening
Chapter 19 Strengthening Family Ties
Chapter 20 Widening the Circle
Chapter 21 Some Cautions About Connection
Chapter 22 Supporting Resilience in Military Families
Chapter 23 Nurturant Connections Offer Meaningful Protection Against the Effects of Childhood Trauma
Chapter 24 Character
Chapter 25 Grit: The Character Trait That Drives Performance……………………….
Chapter 26 Contribution
Part 4 Coping
Chapter 27 Getting a Grip on Stress
Chapter 28 Taking Action
Chapter 29 Taking Care of Your Body
Chapter 30 Taking Care of Your Emotions
Part 5 Control
Chapter 31 Styles of Discipline
Chapter 32 Positive Discipline Strategies
Chapter 33 Increasing Kids’ Control
Chapter 34 Delaying Gratification
Chapter 35 Preparing Our Families for Lifelong Interdependence ………………………..
Chapter 36 One Rung at a Time
Chapter 37 Not Everything Is Within Our Control
Part 6 When Resilience Is Challenged Beyond Reasonable Limits
Chapter 38 Extreme Circumstances
Chapter 39 Turning for Help
Chapter 40 When Your Own Resilience Reaches Its Limits
Part 7 Especially for Communities and Individual Teens
Chapter 41 Community-based Resilience-building Strategies
Chapter 42 Just for Kids: A Personalized Guide for Managing Stress
Parting Thoughts
Index

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