Nieman: 2020 insights into the urgency of building resilience in children

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Many pediatricians and family physicians share stories of how teenagers’ resilience is tested by the COVID debacle. The long-term implications of living under a constant cloud of darkness and uncertainty are unknown for now, but we will one day have clarity.

Before COVID, developmental psychologists feared the dangers of excessive screen time and how it may forever impact the neuro pathway development in a teenager’s brain. One can only speculate about the long-term impact on some children who spend more time in online learning and who soothe their anxieties by engaging in excessive amounts of screen time.

I have written in this column before that it takes a village to raise a child; it is also true that it takes a village to help those dealing with the aftermath of losing a child. Here is a village I have found useful:

• For parents interested in books on raising resilient children, I highly recommend “The Optimistic Child”,written by Martin Seligman, often referred to as the father of positive psychology. Robert Brooks, a psychology professor from Harvard, has written numerous books on the power of Resilience. His YouTube talks on this topic are extraordinary helpful.

• For those interested in podcasts, I recommend Yale professor Laurie Santos’ “The Happiness Lab” podcast.

• And for those interested in science-based insights for a meaningful life, I suggest a few visits to

Dr. Nieman is a community-based pediatrician, author and marathon runner.

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