INTRODUCTION xix starting summer camp, your child will probably regress a bit. You may notice this pattern with some children in even less momentous circumstances, such as going to a sleepover for the first time. They may behave as they did last year or lash out at you or your spouse. This is normal! Think about how you’d leap across a chasm. You wouldn’t stand on the edge and just jump across. You’d take several steps backward to get a running start before you leap, and then cover your eyes as you soar across. Visualize every major developmental stage or challenge as a chasm that children worry about crossing. Don’t be surprised when they take 2 or 3 steps backward before their next attempt to move forward. And don’t be shocked if they sometimes leap with blinders on. Please don’t feel defeated if you do your best to help your children across that chasm and your efforts seem to fall short. Children are listening, even when they roll their eyes or ask, “Are you done yet?” Know that you can make a difference even when it feels like they’ve slipped backward. Be flexible as you apply the guidelines offered here. The standard line I was taught over the years was, “Consistency is the most important ingredient in parenting.” If that means consistency of love, I agree. But I wasn’t completely consistent raising my own children. Each of my daughters had her individual temperament. On any given day, they may have lived the same experience, but each required a different response from me. I don’t mean we have to just go with the flow. We certainly need to have clear, unwavering values, and our love for our kids has to be the most consis- tent, stable, and obviously expressed force in our homes. Children benefit from knowing that there are reliable routines in their lives. But life is always chang- ing. To be resilient, we must adapt as circumstances require, for our own sake as well as to model this valuable quality for our children. We want to make crossing that chasm a bit easier when we can. We know our children need to get across on their own, but we’d like to help them build a bridge. This book is about giving kids the tools they need to construct that bridge while maintaining the kind of relationships that will make them more likely to welcome our presence alongside them. Why Me? My life’s work is about guiding youth toward a socially, emotionally, and physically healthy life. I am a pediatrician who has degrees in child and human development and who has specialized in adolescent medicine since 1990 at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Early on, most of my guidance BuildingResilience4e.indb 19 3/5/20 2:02 PM
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