This special issue is dedicated to the memory of Christopher Peterson (1950-2012), the world's most prolific researcher in the new field of positive psychology. Articles explore innovative programs for building strengths and prosocial behavior and values with challenging children and youth.
Acts of superiority or dehumanization generate conflicts that disrupt our relationships and divide our communities. While race is a biological fiction, racism affects us all, even the most well-intentioned. This issue examines promising initiatives to heal the pain and trauma of racism and celebrate the oneness of humankind.
The Vital Balance
Fifty years ago, psychiatrist Karl Menninger challenged the disease model of emotional and behavioral problems. His classic book, The Vital Balance, described most "symptoms" as attempts to cope and restore well-being. The latest DSM-5 edition stirs new controversy about deficit mindsets. This issue explores strength based alternatives to help young people cope with challenge, heal from trauma, build resilience, and, in Dr. Menninger's words, become “weller than well.”
Victories Over Violence
Children struggling to cope with trauma and violence in home, school, and community can show a host of emotional and behavioral problems. This issue explores positive strategies for prevention, intervention, and growth.
Delivering What Works
The professional literature is flooded with methods that claim to be "evidence-based practices." A larger concern for those who work with children and youth is"practice-based evidence" which is defined as delivering what works. In this issue, noted leaders from the Reclaiming Youth movement describe the most successful strategies for creating environments in which all young people thrive.
My Brother's Keeper
The President of the United States launched "My Brother's Keeper" as an initiative to achieve positive life outcomes with boys and young men of color. Helping these youth achieve their rich potential will involve addressing long-standing disparities in education, juvenile justice, employment, and family stability. Prominent leaders in this work have been invited to present fresh ideas for addressing these challenges. The journal Reclaiming Children and Youth is published by Starr Commonwealth which for over a century has been a leader in creating environments where all young people thrive.
Building Family Strengths
The family is the fundamental force of human experience. Neuroscience and trauma research document the toll taken when family bonds are broken but also the ability to bounce back from adversity. Articles describe journeys of forging strength and resilience within families and young people. Diverse perspectives are presented and stories of courage, hope, and promise are illustrated.
Celebrating Youth Development
The science of positive youth development provides an evidence-based foundation for building resilience in children, families, and communities. One of the world’s leading youth organizations, 4-H, is designing its programs of “transformational education” around the developmental needs of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. Leading researchers and practitioners describe these innovative approaches with diverse populations of young people.
Adversity and Thriving
Many discussions of adversity and trauma adopt a deficit perspective which stifles optimism and hope for positive growth. Guest editor Howard Bath from Australia has brought the perspective of resilience to the center of this discussion, celebrating the potential of children and youth to to overcome adversity and thrive.
Conflict in the Classroom
A half century ago Nicholas Long and colleagues launched Conflict in the Classroom, the first major text for educators serving students with emotional and behavioral challenges. As this book has evolved into its 7th edition, contributors from the Reclaiming Youth Network share their perspectives on building school environments where all students thrive.