Helping Children and Adolescents: Evidence-Based Strategies from Developmental and Social Psychology

From the Preface: At some level and at some time, every adult senses a wish to help children become healthy, have enjoyable lives, and be constructive members of society. In turn, due to their immaturity, youngsters present challenges that understandably lead some adults to shy away or flounder around in their commitments to and relationships with children. Certainly parents face decisions every day that require them to make decisions about how to respond to their offspring, and they commonly benefit from professionals trained to understand and help youngsters. The career-choice of educators, mental health practitioners, and other responsible adults (such as in health care, social service, and law enforcement) creates a social responsibility, perhaps even a legal duty, to be of assistance; and they grapple with how they can best make short- and long-term contributions to children and adolescents. Despite good intentions, any adult may end up in a quandary. [...] Having worked professionally with kids for many years (and raised three of my own), I have dutifully studied authoritative information and research. I have found that scholarly works in the specialties of developmental and social psychology are particularly helpful for gaining understanding of childhood and adolescence and identifying and acquiring the skills that can be useful to efforts to guide youngsters. [...] In my role as a professor, I have often heard students say, Theory is fine, but how do I use the information in real life?A Despite the simple clear language appropriate for most adults, this book is intended for training professionals in education, mental health, health care, social service, and law enforcement to be more effective in their helping of children and adolescents. There will be actual cases involving folks with whom I have worked as an educator, psychologist, or attorney, and there will be concrete suggestions about how the problem being considered could have been avoided or how it should be handled. Robert H. Woody