Thursday, April 28, 2011

Raising Resilient Kids in Seismic Times

Haitian Teens help build a clinic just three weeks after the earthquake, January 2010
Tonight I gave a lecture at the Mamaroneck High School to a committed group of district-wide parents who came to hear about the budget(not from me--not my forte!) and to listen to some simple guidelines from me about the importance of resilience for raising authentically successful kids.   Realizing that success in turbulent and uncertain times is not something that stops at high school or college, we can think about how to raise our children and teens in a way that fosters responsible adulthood.

My lecture is based on the Seven C's of Resilience,  a concept endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and promulgated in the work of Doctor Ken Ginsburg, a pediatrician in Philadelphia. 

The Seven C's are:
Confidence: it’s not the 90’s message of self-esteem. It’s not about empty praise. How could you ever live up to being compared to Picasso in Kindergarten?

Competence: the real kind. the kind you feel when people notice what you are doing well, really well

Connection: Not about the internet or social media alone. But about the power of stories and generations of friends and family and the Venn diagram of circles of friends.

Character: Living a life of values. Having a strong yardstick of tradition, religion, law, standards, family values, and ethics

Contribution: knowing you matter in this world.  Understanding that service to others feels good. One day you might ask for it and then you will know that it actually feels good to help others.

Coping: Learning positive coping strategies for managing day to day and in crisis. This is about modeling what to do and not merely talking about what not to do.

Control: the concept of the "locus of control" and the different parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and disengaged.  Instilling a sense of “I can handle this” vs “What I think or do doesn’t matter”

Three books are recommended from this talk:
Ken Ginsburg, MD, A Parent's Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Your Child Roots and Wings (American Academy of Pediatrics), 2006 and 2011

Richard Weissbourd, The Parents We Mean To Be, 2009

Michael Gurian, Nurture the Nature, 2007

Here is a list of qualities to consider when thinking about the meaning of real success as a person:
kindness, generosity, compassion, creativity; being innovative, full of ingenuity, unafraid, competent, trustworthy, global, and authentic. 
Feel free to comment and add more of your own. 
Thank you Mamaroneck PTA and SEPTA for this opportunity to reach parents. 

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