Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Preparing Children to Be Strong, Resilient Adults

"When we look at children today, we see them in the moment. We rarely picture a cute 5-year-old or a texting preteen as an adult. But we must prepare children to become healthy, productive, contributing 35-year-olds if their generation is to repair our world, and lead us into the future." - Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg

Book Review:
Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings
by Kenneth R. Ginsburg

Dr. Ginsburg is a nationally-recognized expert on building resilience in children and teens. He's a pediatrician specializing in adolescents as well as a parent himself. His book is practical, easy-to-read, and  highly recommended by parents, parent groups, counselors, coaches, and doctors. Building Resilience is a handbook that you will regularly refer to throughout your child's life.

Learn how to help children from toddlers to teens build resilience, make their own mistakes, solve their own problems, and manage stress in their complicated lives. Building Resilience is full of anecdotes, specific advice and strategies, and example interactions to help you be a better listener and ask better questions to help your children think for themselves.  The book addresses topics including social media, school, peer pressure, and family issues. Other great features of this book: sections that pre-teens and teens can read themselves with worksheets on how to manage their own stress as well as a section for parents about building their own resiliency.

Dr. Ginsburg focuses on the "7 crucial Cs": competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, control. These range from praising effort rather than outcome to recognizing a minor inconvenience versus a true crisis. This is information that is sure to prove valuable in all your interactions with children or adults.

In the end, we all know that parenting is about one goal: providing an environment where children can grow into healthy, strong, self-sufficient adults who can solve problems and love/accept themselves. This book is an excellent resource for helping all of us achieve that goal.

Interested in hearing more from the author himself? 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Freedom to Read! Read a Banned Book!

Next week, join me in celebrating the freedom to read during the American Library Association's Banned Books Week.

Some great children's books that have been questioned or banned over the years:

  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
    Despite being the winner of the Newbery Medal, this book about a the death of a boy's close friend has been on the American Library Association’s list of the 100-most-banned/challenged books for years. 
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
    This popular picture book has been deemed "too scary for children" by many parents and libraries.
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
    This picture book about same-sex penguin parents was the most challenged book for three years running, according to the American Library Association.
  • A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
    This classic book of poems and drawings for children has been banned multiple times for encouraging, among other things, "messiness and disobedience."
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
    One of the best-selling books of all time, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has been questioned and banned repeatedly for its supposed encouragement of black magic.

Download the ALA's 2013-2014 List of Books Challenged And/Or Banned (pdf)>>

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Building Resiliency in Yourself and Others

“Highly resilient people are flexible, adapt to new circumstances quickly, and thrive in constant change. Most important, they expect to bounce back and feel confident that they will. They have a knack for creating good luck out of circumstances that many others see as bad luck.” - Al Siebert, PhD, author of The Resiliency Advantage
Our first article is a great introduction to building resiliency in yourself and your children. From "Pump up your Positivity" to "Hang on to Humor", the 5 methods to build resiliency are specific and helpful. I especially like the anecdotal stories and specific book recommendations.

The 5 Best Ways to Build Resiliency
by Jessie Sholl,

"Why do some people bounce back from adversity and misfortune? Why do others fall apart? Find out which character strengths make all the difference — and how you can develop them yourself.

Victoria Ruvolo was driving home from a niece’s piano recital one wintery evening in 2004 when a large object smashed through her windshield, hitting with such force that it broke every bone in her face. The object turned out to be a frozen turkey. The thrower: a teenage boy named Ryan Cushing, out for a joyride with friends in a stolen car. Ruvolo’s passenger managed to grab the steering wheel, push Ruvolo’s foot off the gas pedal and steer them onto the shoulder. After being rushed to the hospital, Ruvolo remained in an induced coma for two weeks." 

Read the entire article>>

Our next article digs deeper into the study of resiliency with one of the leading researchers in the field. Nan Henderson is the developer of the "Resiliency Wheel", a visual representation of the 6 elements in a person's environment that can support and build resiliency (read the article to learn more).

Hard-Wired to Bounce Back
by Nan Henderson, M.S.W., author of Resiliency in Action: Practical Ideas for Overcoming Risks and Building Strengths in Youth, Families, and Communities

"Researchers are documenting an innate “self-righting tendency” that exists in everyone. How can you use their findings to help yourself and help others be more resilient?

Can individuals learn to be more resilient, or are some just born with the ability to bounce back from adversity?  Both, according to researchers, whose work suggests that human beings are born with an innate self-righting ability, which can be helped or hindered. Their findings are fueling a major shift in thinking about human development: from  obsessing about problems and weaknesses to recognizing “the power of the positive”–identifying and building individual and environmental strengths that help people to overcome difficulties, achieve happiness, and attain life success.

After 15 years of  studying and reflecting upon the myriad studies on human resiliency, dialoguing with thousands of people of all ages about the topic, and writing extensively about resiliency, I have come to believe that individuals are hard-wired to bounce back from adversity.  I also believe everyone can expand this innate capacity for resiliency within themselves and others. People bounce back in two ways: they draw upon their own internal resources, and they encounter people, organizations, and activities that provide them with the conditions that help the emergence of their resilience.  Psychologists call these internal and external conditions “protective factors” and conclude, “these buffers” are more powerful in a person’s life than risks or traumas or stress.  They fuel the movement towards healthy development."

Read the entire article>>

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just "Shake It Off"

I think it's fantastic when popular songs include positive messages! In one of Taylor Swift's latest songs, "Shake It Off", I see positive messages like "be yourself", "your talents are valuable, too", "ignore the negative comments of others", "you can feel good without making others feel bad", and more. 

Here's an interesting article I found with suggestions for how to talk to your kids about the messages of this song.

5 Surprising Lessons in Taylor Swift ‘Shake it Off’ Video
by Sarah Mills,

While you and your children may love to sing and dance to Taylor Swift songs, you probably never considered that kids younger than dating age might learn something from the lyrics. But that just might be the case when you listen to and watch her latest release, Shake it Off.

After showcasing several talented artists displaying their particular brand of dance, the end of the Taylor Swift Shake it Off video features a group of seemingly everyday people busting out their own unique moves. Swift and the video’s director, Mark Romanek, reportedly opted to highlight other artists to illustrate that you don’t have to put others down when building yourself up. Everybody has different talents, and showcasing talent can be a collaboration.

Read the entire article>>