That was the title of the recent PEP parenting breakfast I attended, after meeting the speaker/author, Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg at a very fun blogger breakfast chat.  I came away with so many great tips, I could write tons!  I’ll share some of the highlights, and highly recommend the speaker’s book, Building Resilience in Children and Teens:  Giving Kids Roots and Wings.

Have you ever sat through a lecture and without realizing it, was nodding your head the whole time?  That was me.  The ideas really made sense and resonated with me, a mom now with TWO teenagers at home and one on the way to the “T Zone.”

Here are some great tips Dr. Ginsburg shared…

He talked about how we define success for our kids – is it happiness?  Too short-term, he said.  School?  Too much pressure.  He suggests we aim to raise a kid who’s “successful” at 35, 50 years old, who is happy (thrilled with what they do); empathetic/generous; hard working; with social and emotional intelligence.  The key, though, and I couldn’t agree more, is we want kids who are RESILIENT.  This, he said, leads to “long-term, authentic success.”  It’s a mindset, he shared, and may be “uneven” – in other words, your kid may be resilient at home but not school or vice versa.

“Young people will be more resilient if we believe in them unconditionally and hold them to high expectations…They live up or down to the expectations we set for them,” Dr. Ginsburg said.

Key ingredients, he shared, are nurturing parents, listening, play, and lots more he outlines in the book!  He also recommends “letting them walk through puddles; don’t build bridges,” which I love (very “Blessing of a Skinned Knee”ish).  Our natural instinct is to protect our kids; but how empowering to let them stumble to learn first hand how to be resilient.

He talked about the danger of overscheduling our kids and how critical it is to have play time (for teens, down time/hangout time), and said if you need to drop activities, it’s not “quitting,” it’s “pruning.”  Love it!

His book’s subhead, “Giving Kids Roots and Wings,” brings us back to the nest analogy.  To fly from the nest, however, he shared, “you have to imagine that it’s prickly, uncomfortable, and by the time you’re ready to leave home, uninhabitable.”  Very cute way of showing how kids get more independent, naturally go through phases where they resist parents and authority, and get to independence in their own way.

PEP is a local (Maryland) parenting organization I adore.  They have workshops and classes all centered around positive parenting, and as you know, I’m a firm believer in continuing education for parents…