Playing at Being Bad
The Hidden Resilience of Troubled Teens
By Michael Ungar
(McClelland & Stewart, Paperback, 9780771087110, 272pp.)
Publication Date: August 7, 2007
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“Our most troubled youth are far more resilient and healthy than we are ready to admit. If we take the time to listen very closely to our children speak about their experiences beyond our front doors, we hear an entirely different story about their lives than the one we adults tell.”
Unlike many other books about difficult kids that reflect the wisdom of adults, this one explores the truth of adolescence. It builds on recent explorations of youth such as Mary Pipher’s Reviving Ophelia, Judith Rich Harris’ The Nurture Assumption, and William Pollack’s Real Boys. It examines emerging trends in psychology, as well as recent innovations in work with our most unhealthy young people. Playing at Being Bad offers particular insight for parents, teachers, and caregivers of troubled youth just beginning, or already stuck in, patterns of delinquency, drug or alcohol addiction, sexual promiscuity, violence, suicide, depression, and truancy. This book tells the story of the teens Ungar worked with for more than fifteen years, taking a close look at the crises kids face, while exploring the important role that adults can play in keeping dangerous and delinquent youth from drifting further into trouble.
An internationally recognized expert on resilience in at-risk youth and the leader of the International Resilience Project, 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.