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How Do We Build Resilience?

February 24, 2020

Did you catch our episode on The Lindberghs Podcast? Tune in to hear an engaging conversation about building resilience in our community. Scroll down to learn more about our upcoming feature event.

 

The definition for RESILIENCE is: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

 

By now, we’re aware of the alarming increase in anxiety and depression among our youth. According to SCREENAGERS filmmaker and physician, Delaney Ruston, "depression symptoms started going down for teen boys and girls throughout the '90s, and then around 2011 started going up again." 

 

There are multiple factors involved and we are beginning to uncover many of them, including - but not limited to - screen time, increased competition, academic pressure, and socioeconomic and environmental stressors. 

 

This growing awareness has prompted a variety of responses from the healthcare, education, and human service sectors. A common response is that children, and their parents, need to build resilience. SO, HOW DO WE DO THAT?

 

The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests that connections, acceptance, hope, positivity, perspective, self-discovery, and self-care all play a part.

 

What does that look like in our family systems? Last year Raising Resilience polled the community to determine the top issues parents wanted us to focus on. Screen time; Stress, Anxiety, and Depression; and Substance Abuse Prevention were the top three issues identified.

 

What seems evident as we explore these issues is that anxiety and it’s root cause – fear – is at the center of many of them.

How do we combat this as parents? On Monday, March 9, at 7PM @ Woodward Middle School, Raising Resilience is bringing William Stixrud, Phd, and Ned Johnson, the authors of THE SELF-DRIVEN CHILD: The Science and Sense of Giving your Kids more control over their lives. William is a clinical neuropsychologist and Ned is the founder of PrepMatters – which offers tutoring, educational planning, and standardized test preparation.

What Bill and Ned both discovered over the course of their careers is that the best antidote for stressed out kids is to give them more control over their lives.

 

This can feel counter-intuitive in our helicopter parenting society. A fascinating example of this was featured in Screenagers Next Chapter – the film we brought to Bainbridge this past fall. Coincidentally, Ned Johnson was one of the experts featured in Screenagers.

 

In the film, there was a scene where they put parents and children in a room and gave the child a complex puzzle to solve. They told the parents not to help the children and they monitored both parents and children during the process. Not surprisingly – many of the parents tried to help. They discovered that while the parents stress & anxiety decreased when they helped, the child’s increased. On the other hand – when parents didn’t help and allowed children to solve the puzzle themselves – the children’s stress and anxiety decreased while the parents increased.

 

Parents have a physiological response to letting their kids take more control of their lives, but it’s a necessary part of their development and ability to build resilience.

 

How do we give our kids more of a sense of control without compromising our authority? Join us on March 9 to find out. Our time together with William and Ned will explore practical tools and applications. We look forward to connecting with you!

 

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