Raising strong and successful youth

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

"Parents want to raise perfect children who get into the perfect college and have perfect lives," explained Kenneth Ginsburg, MD, author of A Parent's Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Your Child Roots and Wings.

"The media tells kids what they should look like and how they should act," he continues. "As a result, many kids are riddled with anxiety and perfectionism. They are terrified of getting a B+. This stress is tough on kids who are trying to figure out who they are, and just as important, who they aren't."

As a parent, what can you do to help your daughter face everyday stress academic performance, high achievement standards, an overcommitted schedule, media messages, peer pressures, family tensions, etc and still adjust and thrive?

Dr. Ginsburg, a nationally recognized pediatrician specializing in Adolescent Medicine at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said good coping skills are the key. "Kids with good coping skills are more likely to become strong, independent adults who live full, balanced, lives."

Coping is one of the 7-Cs Dr. Ginsburg outlines in his plan for resilience, along with competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution and control.

These ingredients for resilience will be outlined in detail during the keynote presentation at Healthy, Strong and Ready for Teens: Parents and Doctors Working Together to Prepare Girls for Adolescence on Saturday, April 18 at The Fawcett Center on The Ohio State University campus.

Nobody can avoid all stress, and not all stress is bad for teens. But, as Dr. Ginsburg explains, you can always learn ways to deal with it.

"Parents want to raise children who have a repertoire of coping strategies so they won't have to resort to the dangerous quick fixes drugs, alcohol, self-mutilation, eating disorders and violence that parents fear," he says.

In his presentation, and in his book, Dr. Ginsburg outlines effective strategies parents can use in helping children and teens, including:

• Making wise decisions

• Recognizing and building on their natural strengths

• Dealing effectively with stress

• Fostering hope and optimism

• Developing skills to navigate a complex world

• Avoiding risky behaviors

• Taking care of their emotions and their bodies

"If kids are made to feel as though their ultimate goal is to please parents, and not themselves, they won't learn how to identify their own strengths and preferences," said Dr. Ginsburg. "Happiness, creativity, and the innovative spirit are crushed when kids believe they need to fit into the perfect box."

Two-week series

Click here to read how to prepare your teen for a healthy lifestyle