Being a calm, steady beacon of hope and guidance during a storm — “a lighthouse parent,” as parent/teen expert Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg calls it — is what children need most these days when they are readjusting to the world after more than a year of COVID-19 pandemic life.
And what parents, who might be frazzled from all that has and still is going on, need most is “the gift of self-compassion,” to forgive themselves for possible shortcomings and take care of themselves to parent on.
That’s some of the advice from Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings, who joins us for the latest edition of the Modern Dads Podcast.
A co-director of the Center for Parent and Teen Communication, Ginsburg offers advice to help us think about what our kids have gained, lessons to take forward, and how to open the lines of communication.
The Center of Parent and Teen Communication helps promotes the health, character and well-being of adolescents through education, research and advocacy. Ginsburg helped create a comprehensive website for parents and teens that aims to strengthen family connections.
Ginsburg, a pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, specializes in “social adolescent medicine” — medicine with special attention to prevention and the recognition that social context and stressors impact upon both physical and emotional health. He places specific effort in teaching, research and advocacy efforts that build on the strength of teenagers by fostering their internal resilience. He developed a teen-centered method that mixes qualitative/quantitative methodology to help young people generate, prioritize and explain their own proposed solutions to social problems and to teach clinicians how to better serve them.
A father of two young adult daughters, Ginsburg is a frequent lecturer to national and international audiences. He has worked with The Boys and Girls Club of America to incorporate resilience-building strategies into their programming, and the U.S. military to prepare military parents and professionals to incorporate stress reduction and resilience building strategies into the lives of our nearly 2 million military-affiliated children.
Ginsburg has several parenting books to his credit. In addition to Building Resilience in Children and Teens, he has written Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love with Expectations and Protection with Trust, and Letting Go with Love and Confidence, all published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). He is also the author of Reaching Teens: Strength-Based Communication Strategies to Build Resilience and Support Healthy Adolescent Development, a comprehensive multimedia toolkit published by the AAP.