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Wondering how you can make a difference in the life of a youth? Many studies in the past two decades have confirmed that youth having caring and supportive relationships with their family members is critical for raising healthy, resilient youth.
Supporting our youth refers to the many ways we care, love and accept them both verbally and nonverbally. When we hug them and tell them, “I love you,” the expression is obvious. Paying attention to them, listening to them and taking an interest in what they’re doing are less obvious ways of giving support, but they are just as important.
Research also shows that if a youth feels support from family, he or she is less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as substance use or sexual activity. Family support has the power to build a youth’s self-esteem and ability to thrive.
A 2008 survey of Grant County youth found that local youth report high levels of love and support from their family. The love and support of the family lays a foundation for our youth. They are the future of Grant County. Here are some tips to help build family support in your home:
• Prepare and eat a family meal together.
• Have a weekly game night. Take turns choosing the game.
• Find lots of ways to show your family members you love them: leave notes where they will find them, do a chore that isn’t your responsibility, give hugs, be kind to one another.
• Spend alone time with each of your children. Take a walk, listen to music or just hang out.
For more information about how to help youth achieve a healthy future, please visit the Northern Kentucky Health Department’s Web site at http:www.nkyhealth.org/whatareassets.
(Eleshia Scholes is the Senior Health Educator for the Northern Kentucky Health Department. Information for this article was adapted from the Search Institute’s educational materials. For more information, visit http://www.search-institute.org/.)