Resilient Youth: Protective Factors in School, Family and Community
Why is it that some youth succeed in life despite great odds? Why do some teens “bounce back” when others do not? “Resilient” is the term prevention researchers use to describe these young people. Resilient youth are said to have “assets” that act as protective factors to sup-port and encourage healthy development, and help teens avoid negative behaviors like dropping out of school, using alcohol or other drugs, teen pregnancy, and incarceration.
The growing body of research in resiliency indicates that even severely at-risk youngsters can develop into confident, competent and caring adults if families, communities and schools define important assets and partner on strategies to promote resiliency.
Promoting youth resilience is best begun in the early grades before students are pressured to engage in risky behaviors .These efforts should continue through adolescence. Schools , families and communities that support resilient youth tend to have three common characteristics : caring and supportive relationships, positive and high expectations, and opportunities for meaningful participation .
Protective Factors in Schools: A supportive and respectful environment within the school, opportunities for before and after-school activities, an inviting atmosphere for parents and community as well as participation, and a climate of connectedness.
Protective Factors in Families: Positive role models, parental involvement in school, monitoring of out-of-school time, positive communication within the family, respectful and consistent rules and consequences, and spending time together.
Protective Factors in Communities: Effective prevention policies, positive and clear community norms and values, a view of youth as resources, and opportunities for young people to make positive contributions and gain a sense of connectedness to the community.
True or False Quiz/Connecting with Teens
Most teens turn to their parents for advice.
“Not having enough time together”with their parents is a top concern among teenagers today.
Teens have enough after-school activities in their communities.
When teens participate in after-school programs they avoid risky behavior and do better in school.Teens that don’t participate in after-school activities are five times more likely to be “D”students,three times more likely to use drugs,and twice as likely to get into a fight at school.
Sources:Talking With Teens: The YMCA Parent and Teen Survey Final Report and After School for America’sTeens: A National Survey of Teen Attitudes and Behaviors. Both available at www.ymca.net.
Result: Youth develop a sense of purpose and meaningful goals, communication skills, conflict resolution and problem solving skills, personal responsibility, coping and stress reduction strategies, and empathy toward others.These protective factors enable teens to succeed in challenging times and sustain them into adulthood.
For more information on resiliency and developing assets,visit the SEARCH Institute at www.search-institute.org
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