From risk to resilience: A journey with heart for our children, our future

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9781563740176: From risk to resilience: A journey with heart for our children, our future
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From Risk to Resilience examines the calamitous gulf between children and adults that has developed during the last 40 years. Symptomatic of this rift are drug abuse, teenage sexual activity and pregnancy and increasing school drop out rates. Our children are growing up vulnerable and are at risk of entering adulthood lacking the skills to thrive in society. This book offers intriguing insights into how this situation came about and some provides clear answers to this perplexing and urgent problem.. From Risk to Resilience leads the reader beyond the obvious symptoms to the roots of risk and provides a redeeming path to the future.

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About the Author:

Tim Burns is a consultant, trainer, presenter, and university instructor with more than twenty years' experience with young people in recreational, educational and therapeutic settings. This includes ten year's work in parenting education and family counseling. He is a former high school teacher, chemical dependency counselor, and adolescent substance abuse treatment program director. He holds a master's degree in counseling and is certified as both an alcoholism counselor and a clinical mental health counselor.

Tim has been a trainer with the New Mexico Substance Abuse Division since 1983 and an instructor for the University of New Mexico Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies program since 1987. He has taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses for the University of New Mexico in addiction studies, family studies, and parenting.

As a trainer and consultant, Tim has worked with more than 150 school districts and 250 agencies, groups, institutions, and professional associations. He has been on the faculty of numerous national and regional conferences and three international symposia related to high-risk youth, the family, and addiction.

Tim currently works extensively as a student assistance program consultant, core-team trainer, and as a frequent speaker at conferences and in communities around the nation. Tim also donates one day each week to work with a local school district, personally working with some of the at-risk students.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Young people are at-risk only to the extent that their family, community and society are also at risk. In truth, they mirror, for better or for worse, the general conditions of society. Two potential problems stem from applying risk labels to young people. One is the tendency to "blame the victim," meaning that we blame young people for their conditions without taking into consideration the broader context. Another is the very act of labeling can create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We should start our discussion with a useful operational definition of young people at risk and understand some basic terminology. When we talk about 'risk," "at-risk," and "high-risk," exactly what are we describing?

We might define an "at-risk" young person as one who is facing two obstacles to full development. These are: the inner obstacles of unmet developmental needs, and the outer obstacles of increasing environmental stress. All children are going to go through their development with some unmet needs. In addition, all children, at various times, are going to face stress. There is, however, a situation occurring in our nation that is unique and, perhaps, unparalleled. I thin, in some ways, it is expressed best by Urie Bronfenbrenner who has been conducting research on at-risk youth in America for many years. His conclusion is that the current generation of young people-above and beyond all previous generation-is expressing the highest level of alienation and anomie of any generation in America.

Alienation refers to lack of certain essential conditions for human health. These are lack of connectedness, a lack of bonding and/or a lack of belonging. Anomie refers to "normlessness-not knowing what normal is. Those brought up not knowing what normal is, are growing up in a culture with no structure. For most of us, "normal" means a culture which has more or less clear values and consistent sanctions on what shouldn't be done, coupled with rewards and encouragement for what should be done. If I, as a young person, grow up in a culture without these anchors of normality, I grow up without any internalized structure for dealing with the problems that I face in my life.

If a child has too many unmet developmental needs, then that child is going to be more vulnerable to the experience of alienation; alienation from self, alienation from family, alienation from community. A child growing up alienated from self, family and community is more likely to experience development problems.

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E. Timothy Burns
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Burns, E. Timothy
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