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We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids [Paperback]

Michael Ungar

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Book Description

Jan. 13 2009
Engaging and timely, this book is an invaluable resource for parents who want their children to become socially responsible and globally aware adults

As youth culture seems to grow more self-centred and obsessed with "Me,"Michael Ungar shows us that, in fact, children today are as willing as ever to think "We." Given the right signals, and some important changes to the homes we live in, our schools and communities, kids will seek out close connections with the adults in their lives. Like generations before them, they want to be noticed for the contributions they can make. What they need, though, is compassion and encouragement from parents, and some careful attention to their most important connections, those made at home. Combining inspiring stories taken from his clinical work with families and children with expert research gathered from around the world, Ungar reveals how the close connections kids crave, and the support adults provide, can help kids realize their full potential - and how it can also protect them from the dangers of delinquency, whether it be drug abuse, violence, or early sexual activity.

At a time when global issues and activism have come to the forefront, We Generation offers a fresh, optimistic way of thinking about our children’s true nature and potential.

Frequently Bought Together

We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids + Too Safe for Their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive + Strengths-Based Counseling With At-Risk Youth
Price For All Three: CDN$ 67.97

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Review

Praise for Michael Ungar:
"Too Safe for Their Own Good offers us fresh, powerful and deeply relevant ideas about the developmental needs of teenagers. Ungar’s thought-provoking book is both wise and practical. All of us parents, therapists and educators who work with adolescents will benefit from his ideas on what teenagers require for optimal growth. This is a paradigm-shifting book." — Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia

About the Author

An internationally recognized expert on resilience in youth, Michael Ungar runs a private practice specializing in working with children and adults in mental health and correctional settings, and is a professor at the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University. He lives in Halifax with his wife and two children.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the We in Me Jan. 29 2010
By Christine Louise Hohlbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Where's the We in Me? That's a question Michael Ungar, PhD poses in his new book, The We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids. His premise is children are being raised by the Me Generation, nestled neatly between the Baby Boomers and today's kids. We were raised, in his mind, to be utterly self-centered, looking toward our own pleasure, even if it means to do so at the expense of others.

We generation Despite the affront one might feel when first reading his book, he quickly turns a hopeful eye to the next generation who are more aware of social, economic and environmental issues than their parents. I would argue it is always the case that the 'next generation' inherits new chances and new issues (ours were imminent nuclear war and the battle for superpower status). As I said to my husband the other day, our children will teach us things we could never imagine. It is our job to raise them to be better than we are.

Ungar's background as a family therapist shines through the real-life stories he tells. Take Richard, the boy whose development was hindered because he was rarely hugged. Or Grant whose heartless father put his dog in the pound before moving his new wife and baby to the Middle East. I found myself tearing up in numerous places throughout the book as the weight of responsibility mixed with a hope to 'do it better for the kids' waved over me.

Some important takeaways from the book include:

* The importance of touch ~ hug your kids, but don't hover.
* Kindness is learned. When you show kindness to strangers, they will, too.
* Talk less. Listen more. Use eye contact when communicating with your child.
* Teach responsibility. Let your child know s/he is a wanted part of the family, that they matter and that they are a part of the team. When they slack off, everyone suffers.
* Understand what's possible. Ungar lists the developmental stages of a child's understanding. I found it enormously helpful, for instance, to know my ten-year-old's 'enlightened self-interest' when it comes to helping around the house is completely normal!

Michael Ungar's book is like a prosey hug. He clearly walks his talk with an authentic voice, one by which we would do well to abide.

Christine Louise Hohlbaum is a lifestyle expert and author of various books including The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Children must feel love before they can give it Oct. 11 2009
By Regis Schilken - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In The We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids, Michael Unger talks of parents who look at their children with utter frustration. Deep inside, they feel their kids are egotistical--turned in on themselves--unless they are outside their home standing on a street corner with their gang. Parents notice they often dress in odd ways, but not identically. They see that the more atypical a hairstyle or mode of dress is, the greater the admiration within their peer group, and this frustrates parents even more. Why are they so me, me, me?

What many parents don't recognize is that they themselves are the very cause of their alienated children. They do not model a WE attitude with their kids. Parents are often so busy with their careers, their social network, the intricacies of their personal lives, that they assume their offspring will grow into mature adults just because they should--after all, their children live in a nice home, have few material needs if any, and attend good schools.

But having few material wants does not replace the want for genuine interaction within a family where both children and parents show compassion for each other's welfare. Children are adaptable. When they feel their thoughts and feelings are not important; their "past, present, and future," is of little consequence; their achievements, however small, are not recognized; they will gang together where all those things do count. It is often in a gang setting that the we, we, we, discussed in The We Generation is confirmed.

Unger stresses that "Compassion, connection, responsibility, citizenship" are part of the security cycle which must begin at home. Security to a child means she feels parents are genuinely concerned for her welfare. If a mother enters a room too preoccupied to notice her daughter's raised hands indicating "Hold me," at her own level, that tiny tot doubts her mother's feelings for her. In her own infant way, she experiences no "touch" connection. There is no smiling face or warm huggie to greet her.

The The We Generation explains how teens feel this security, or lack of it, in a different way. A father walks through the dining area. His teen son is gluing together a wooden model airplane. He waits for words of praise. Pop takes his golf clubs and leaves--maybe says a short "Nice job, son." This dad has missed a grand opportunity.

He could have walked to the table, sat down, and watched his son. He might have asked to hold the model. Then, without criticizing his son's attempts, this father could have offered sincere praise while placing his hand on his son's shoulder. He might even ask, "When I get home this evening, will you let me help paint it?" Or, "Let's go out tomorrow and get an engine for that thing." This son is secure knowing he is cared about, and loved, and touched.

Kids mirror what they see adults doing. If a teen daughter consistently sees her father speeding, how can he hold her responsible for back-talk when she speeds, or when she comes home with speeding tickets. What's more, if he blows his top because of the cost of the ticket, not because she was speeding, he is only reinforcing irresponsibility and poor citizenship.

In short, The We Generation is a good read for both parents and children. By using some of the book's countless techniques for reconnecting with their offspring, children will recognize parental attempts to convert a me, me, me, attitude to a WE family affirmation. When both parents and teens read the book, teens can begin to understand that their folks are not old fogies at heart. At least now, they are trying to change their own attitudes which drove their kids to seek love and security away from home.

I would recommend this book to adults raising small children so they can immediately start to build security into their family interactions. I would hope parents of older teens would purchase several copies so all can read The We Generation at the same time and discuss it. As the book says, "Parents count more than ever." Let's re-create our children.

Other significant books on the subject:
Parents Do Make a Difference: How to Raise Kids with Solid Character, Strong Minds, and Caring Hearts (The Jossey-Bass Psychology Series)
Blessing Your Children: How You Can Love the Kids in Your Life
Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
Take Back Your Family: How to Raise Respectful and Loving Kids in a Dysfunctional World
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting, but got a bit better on the second half of the book March 11 2014
By Jose Zazueta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's very hard for me to review this book... I was so close to stop reading it a few times, just not at all interesting the first half of the book and was thinking on assigning two stars... The author just talked about how bad it is when kids dont get the attention needed, how bad their lives can turn out (jail, etc...). Not really for me, i don't think i need to be told to love my kids, so not what i was looking for... However it changed a bit for good on the second half of the book, actually giving some good tips on how to make sure your kids care about society and just people around them, which is what's really satisfying at the end...
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The We Generation Feb. 22 2010
By IdaSight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very readable and full of insights in many different areas. A good "brush up" on some items which can slip from time to time.

The author occasionally feels the need to poke at Christian excesses. For example on p. 153 he informs us of being "stunned" at the realease of violent "Christian" videogame, and on p. 180 he condems China and "evengelical communities that promote hatred under the gouise..."----an interesting juxtaposition: Chinese authoritians and Christian "evangelicals that promote hatred".

Chapter five contains discussion of religious and spiritual life principals. Jesus is portrayed as one profit amoung many. This is a position of many people but it at least deserves the author's note that he is denying an essential claim of the Christian faith tradition. On the other hand the author is happy to quote Buddhists and Aboriginals positively pp. 151 159, in contrast to the observation above and in the absense of any quotes in the book from Jesus or reputable Christians of today or historically.

Some readers may agree with the author's discussion of religion, with his point p 156, that "It's hard to imagine a single version of the 'truth', when the divine is honored in so many compelling ways", as he lumps together the practices of Christians, Muslums, Jews, Aboriginal spirituality, Wiccans and Mormons. While such may be hard for the author to imagine, his alternative "all roads" idea may not be agreeable to many readers.

The author provides many worthwhile parental insights. As a prospective reader reviews the book's covers and title she/he has little reason to be forewarned that at times the author breakes forth with his opinions regarding religious faith. That said, and his opinions fore warned, the overall material covered is very interesting and insightful.
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