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Parent Conversations: Exploring the Research on Teens and Resiliency

Facilitated by Mary Gauthier, the Executive Director of the Greenwood Centre for Teaching and Learning, Parent Conversations provide an opportunity to talk about the world outside the school, as well as current research that can help all parents better understand their children. These conversations also encourage parents to share thoughts and ideas with each other.
The topic for these first two sessions was “Teens and Resiliency.” The conversation focused on three areas of research that inform what we know about teens and resiliency:
  1. New science of the brain and neuroplasticity: We now know that it is possible to strengthen areas of the brain. Throughout the teenage years, there are “windows of opportunity” where there is huge potential to create change in the brain.
  2. Growth mindset: Carol Dweck, one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation, discovered the idea of mindset. People with a growth mindset believe that even the most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. They understand that trial and error can involve some risk and are open to learning from these experiences.
  3. The power of relationships and community: Research shows that hopeful and supportive relationships are essential for teens in developing resiliency.
All three of these areas, connected together, created a powerful conversation for parents.
Mary also asked parents to think about a time when, as a teenager, they had to be resilient. What assets did they have that supported that resiliency? As parents shared their responses, common themes - called developmental assets - emerged. These include:
  • A caring adult
  • A goal to work toward
  • An activity to turn to when having a hard time (sports, reading, etc.)
Mary was delighted to see so many parents at these first two sessions. “Parents are partners in a school community,” she says. “I appreciate the interest in the conversations and I look forward to many more!"
Feedback From Parents
Here is what a two parents who attended the sessions had to say:
“The session was tremendously engaging and interesting. I look forward to attending future conversations.”
“One of the things we think is unique and amazing about Greenwood is the opportunity for parents to engage in the community to discuss matters other than those that are strictly school/course related.”
Interested in the resources shared at these first two sessions? Check them out below.

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