Ah, dreaded adolescents.  Whelp, that was a Freudian slip!  I meant to say dreaded adolescence, but I guess my fingers typed what I was actually thinking!  I often joke that I will send my kids away from 13-18 and welcome them back once their sense has returned.  Of course it is just a joke, but the Psychiatrist in me recognizes that the anticipatory anxiety of parenting two adolescents at once is what has me so excited about this book — Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings.  Perhaps just MAYBE there is a road map for how to “get it right.”

Today’s pearl is fantastic.  I’ve read a lot of articles reminding parents to recognize how great their kids are.  And believe you me! (As my Gran would say), my kids are nothing short of amazing.  I will spare you, but trust me, I could go on and on about what wonderful human beings they are :-). That said, we clearly get a different message about what to expect from adolescents — and problematically, our adolescents are also getting that message.  Remember the first blog on this series, the three core principles of resilience?  Well number two was that adolescents will live up (or down) to our expectations.  So when they are under constant barrage of negative expectation and scary statistics about how everything is going to hell on a hand basket, guess what happens?!  That’s right — they jump in the hand basket for the ride.

So what can we, as parents, do to make sure our children and teens know we expect the best from them (and not the worst)?

Quoting Dr. Ginsburg:

  1. Never stop catching your teen being good.
  2. Set clear, positive expectations.
  3. Ignore the hype that creates anxiety in you and subtly transmits lowered expectations to your child.
  4. As much as possible, insulate your child from the negative messages swirling around them by reframing the hype.

This original post can be found in its entirety on my website at www.nzingaharrisonmd.com


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Nzinga Harrison, M.D.

A well-respected physician and educator, Dr. Harrison is the Chief Medical Officer for Anka Behavioral Health Inc. and serves as the Official Campaign Psychiatrist for the national Let's Get Mentally Fit!...

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