is on the way! The past few days have been filled with sweltering heat and stifling humidity. Once the work day
ends the last thing many of us adults want to think about is doing any type of physical activity that will make our blood
boil!! However, it is important to recognize that our children and youth have an intrinsic need to feel loved and supported
from caring adults in their life.
So how can we
as caring adults help our children feel supported and empowered as they grow? Well, the good news is that many of our youth
already feel as though they are supported by their family and other non-parent adults. In December 2004, the LMB sponsored
a survey to find out how our youth felt about themselves and the community they live in. The survey was administered
to youth in 6th-12th grade and conducted by the Search Institute, an independent nonprofit organization
whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities.
At the heart of the institute's work is the framework of 40 Developmental Assets, which are positive experiences and personal qualities that young people need to grow
up healthy, caring, and responsible (www.search-institute.com).
the Attitudes and Behaviors Survey conducted by the Search Institute in December 2004, 68% of our youth said they felt their
family provided high levels of love and support, and almost half of those surveyed expressed feeling supported by three or
more non-parent adults, and that they came from a caring neighborhood.
it is very easy to focus on the negative, we have a lot of positive feedback from the most important people…our youth! So let's work on these positives.
At Home Let’s Remember to…
- Give more hugs and verbal reinforcement.
- Eat at least one meal together every day.
- Set aside at least one evening per week for family
- Brainstorm as a family the things you might like
- Spend time with your children individually.
- Be your child’s biggest fan!
At School We Can Support Families by…
- Regularly call or write parents to give positive messages about their child’s
attitude or progress. Or to report on something positive their child did that
As A Community We Can Support Families by…
- Offering workshops for parents on positive parenting
skills. Invite experts to speak on ways for parents to show love and support
to their children. Allow time for parents to share their ideas and experiences
The Faith Community Can Support Families by…
- Sponsoring family nights as a regular part of youth programming.
- Sponsor celebrations of children and families.
- Make sure that youth programs are not over planned.
In other words, leave time for families to spend together.
We can’t assume our children
know how much we love them. We as adults have a tendency to think our teens do
not want to be kissed or hugged...but I can tell you that I still love receiving kisses and hugs from my parents and I am
a 25 years old!
Sharing meals with our children can be
difficult as a lot of homes are headed by a single parent, or both parents work, but I have learned that taking the time out
to eat with my daughter gives me some much needed down time that I would not take unless I was spending it with her.
I realize that most would question my ability
to speak on this subject as I am young and have a young child, but although I am only 25, a typical day consists of my putting
in a full day at the Local Management Board, running two small businesses and a
non-profit organization. I am lucky if I get to bed before midnight most evenings
only to wake up at the crack of dawn to do it all over again. But I have come to respect and honor my daughter as a little
person who depends on me to instill morals, values, and self-esteem. If I don’t
do it…who will?
As our children and youth get older they
spend more and more time outside of the safety net of home and they are poked and prodded by outside influences: friends,
co-workers (if they are of age), and media (television, music, video games, etc.). With all of the external pressures it is
easy to get discouraged thinking our opinions and presence do not matter to our youth; but the survey results tell us otherwise!
Our children and youth recognize the need
for support and help from their parents. They are saying that they want and need
to feel loved – even when they push away our sloppy kisses.
Adults, we still have the power to instill
greatness in our children, and the great thing is that we can do this without depleting our bank accounts, or standing in
the heat. All it takes is for us to impart some good old fashioned T.L.C- Tender
List adapted from, “What Kids Need to Succeed: Proven, Practical Ways to Raise Good Kids” by Peter
L. Benson Ph.D, Judy Galbraith, M.S., and Pamela Espeland.