Information for the parents of college students
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Book Review: Building Resilience in Children and Teens

There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years and beyond.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Check out our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.

In this review, we’ll take a look at Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings by Kenneth R. Ginsburg and Martha M. Jablow.

At first glance, at least looking at the title of the book, it appears as though by the time your student is headed to college it may be too late to read this book.  But first impressions may be wrong.  Although we would recommend this book to parents when their children are young, the teenage years, and even the college years, are not too late for helping your student build resilience.

 Resilience may be one of the most important qualities for success in college – and in life.  According to Dr. Ginsburg, “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 even in the midst of adversity.”  We know that our children will face difficulties in life and rather than working to prevent them, we arm them to succeed in spite of or even because of them.

In his book, Dr. Ginsburg presents many different ideas about building resilience.  To help readers approach this broad concept he introduces what he calls the 7 Cs model of resilience.  These include competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control.  Each concept is then addressed in a separate chapter.

There are several features of this book that make it especially helpful.  Special sections are devoted to military families, extreme circumstances, stress, and a section for parents about how to take care of themselves and how to cope when they feel they are beyond their limits.  We especially appreciate that there is a section for community groups such as schools, religious groups, sports leagues or others who want to help children develop resilience, as well as a section, “Just for Kids,”  devoted to children themselves.  Parents can share this material with their children.

We recommend this book to parents of all ages.  It is never too late to help your child – even your college aged child – develop and build their resilience.

About the authors

Kenneth R. Ginsburg is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.  He also specializes in adolescent medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  His medical practice is widely varied, including patients who are suburban and urban youth, children of college professors and children in poverty.  He has coauthored several books, including Less Stress, More Success: a New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College Admissions and Beyond and “But I’m Almost 13!” An Action Plan for Raising a Responsible Adolescent.  Dr. Ginsburg is the father of 2 children and lives in Philadelphia.

Martha M. Jablow has written extensively on parenting and health and is the author of several books and articles.

What the authors have to say about the book

“. . . My goal was to translate the best of what was known about positive youth development and resilience into strategies that parents could apply in their homes.  I have been privileged to speak to thousands of parents and young people in scores of communities.  From each, I have gained pearls of wisdom that I want to share.  And from many, I received feedback about information they wanted.  New research has come to light in the last few years that offers concrete advances in our knowledge of how to guide children more effectively.

We can all work together as parents, schools, communities, and policy makers to nurture our children today so they can become the compassionate, creative 35-year-olds we need tomorrow.”

“I hope that you will think about the ideas on these pages, play with them, 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. . . I hope to reinforce the best approaches you already use and help you support children in developing skills that will make them stronger, happier, and more resilient.”

“While resilience is the theme of this book, I want readers to understand from the outset that much of this is commonsense parenting.  Don’t expect each page to address dangers or risks.  This is not a doom-and-gloom book.  It’s about building on children’s existing strengths.  I intend to show you how to approach issues in ways that tie into an overall strategy to enhance resilience.”

What others have to say about the book:

“Whether 3 years old or 30, whether struggling with ‘normal’ developmental issues or major medical or psychological stresses, Dr. Ginsburg empowers parents to raise children who love, accept, and protect themselves.  Isn’t that what we all want for our kids?”

Susan Sugerman, MD, MPH

                                    President and Cofounder, Girls to Women Health and Wellness

Building Resilience in Children and Teens provides a rich and valuable resource for anyone who cares about overcoming the increasing pressures of student achievement.  Dr. Ginsburg has created a great way for adolescents to manage stress and offers effective strategies to prepare this often-overlooked age group to thrive.  It was a super pick for our school and community books clubs – a must-read for any adult involved in middle schools!”

David Schrag

                                    Principal, Stanley Middle School, Lafayette, CA

“Dr. Ginsburg has focused on one of the most critical traits necessary for students on their path to self-actualization.  This book provides a commonsense approach and time-tested exercises for stress reduction for students.  Building Resilience can be the “spark” to assist students in their social-emotional growth.

Ray Piagentini

                                    Professional school counselor and Past President

                                    Illinois School Counselor Association

Related Posts:

Parenting College Students: Recommended Reading List

Parenting College Students: More Recommended Reading

Parenting College Students: Still More Recommended Reading

Parenting College Students: Reading List #4

Reading List: When Your College Student Graduates

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