Supportive, healthy relationships make a big difference
Support is important for everyone, young or old. We like knowing we have people who will be there for us and whom we can count on. Yet, in a hectic society with so many demands, we sometimes forget the importance of noticing and connecting with one another. The result is that too many young people (and adults) feel isolated and alone. While most people understand the important role families have in supporting young people, some overlook the other adult role models such as friends, neighbors, teachers, or coaches. Simple actions such as saying “Hi” or asking, “How was your day?” can help young people feel heard and supported.
ASSETS IN THE SUPPORT CATEGORY
Research shows that the more loving, supportive, and caring adults a young person knows, the more likely he or she is to grow up healthy. Search Institute has identified six assets in the Support category crucial for helping young people grow up healthy: Family Support, Positive Family Communication, Other Adult Relationships, Caring Neighborhood, Caring School Climate, and Parent Involvement in Schooling.
TIPS FOR BUILDING THESE ASSETS
Remember that support doesn’t have to be big or loud to be meaningful. Young people feel supported when you:
- Freely give them your love, affirmation and acceptance;
- Surround them with people who care; and
- Help them know that they belong
HOW CAN YOU GIVE SUPPORT?
- In your home and family: Have each family member name three ways the family supports her or him. Discuss these, as well as the areas (and ways) in which each family member would like to receive more support.
- In your neighborhood and community: Model support for young people by being supportive toward others in your neighborhood, both youth and adults—praise them, take time for them, show an interest in them, and work to understand them. Little things mean a lot; Say “HI”, send a postcard, stop by and visit or play a game together.
- In your school or youth program: Encourage access to at least one caring adult for each young person in the school or youth program.
Want to know more about Search Institute’s other seven asset categories or the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.ecabnetwork.org
Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. Adapted from Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.