From Our Team
Kids should have a caring and trusted adult in their lives
Posted on November 19, 2018 by Bianca De León
Growing up, I have distinct memories of confiding in two trusted adults in my life who weren’t my parents. The first was my Aunt Gloria. I remember talking to her about a lot of things in my formative years — everything from going to college to my friends. She was also the relative closest to me when I was in college and my go-to person when I was homesick or overwhelmed. The other trusted adult in my life was Mrs. Glover. She was the mother of a high school friend. I confided in Mrs. Glover about stressful situations. She always seemed happy to lend a listening ear and share her wisdom. I was very close to my mom growing up, but these two women gave me the safe space and trusted guidance to talk with them about accomplishments, challenges, and even those things I wasn’t quite ready to talk to my mom about.
Developmental research shows that having one or more caring adults in a child’s life increases their resiliency to challenging situations, and become productive, healthy adults. In some cases, these caring adults are the child’s parents; relatives, neighbors, friends of parents, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, and others can play this role. Children and youth with caring, trusted adults in their lives:
- Are less likely to be bullies or be bullied;
- Have stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers;
- Have higher participation rates in out of school activities;
- Are more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college; and
- Have decreased use of drugs and alcohol.
When your kids need to talk, who do they go to? Beyond their friends and beyond you as a parent? Friends can be of limited help; sometimes the last thing a 16-year-old needs is advice from another 16-year-old. In some situations, the last person youth may talk to is a parent. There will be parents who say, “my kid will talk to me.” But let me ask you, did you tell your parents everything? Exactly!
So, who do they go to?
If your kids don’t have a caring and trusted adult in their lives, I would encourage you to spend some time with them over the next month identifying people they can build a trusting relationship with. Every time a young person connects with a trusted adult who talks and listens to them, comforts and celebrates with them, or inspires and collaborates with them, youth are building their resiliency to adversity, learning new things, and learning to make healthier choices.
While I have lost touch with Mrs. Glover, my Aunt Gloria continues to be one of my trusted confidants in my adult life. Now I go to her about motherhood and career goals but knowing that there is still someone I can go to has made all the difference! Thanks, Aunt Gloria!
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