I vividly recall my favorite thing as a child about “back-to-school.” Truthfully, I can’t pretend it was the excitement of a new year of learning…it was the school supplies. I loved walking the aisles of Wal-Mart with my mother, picking out brand new pencils, notebooks, and crayons. I would sit in my room organizing and reorganizing my new supplies for hours.
As an adult, I realize why that ritual was so important and exciting…it was a brand new year, a fresh start.
Working with our area teens, I see the hope that a fresh start can give. Too often, young people come to us, as young as 11 and 12, living with the consequences of past choices or injustices - sexual activity, drug and alcohol use, abuse, illness, or losing a mother or father to divorce. Often their lives are marked with extreme pain, and yet they strive towards a better future.
One of On Point’s primary objectives is to instill a sense of resiliency in our students – where they have the skills to bounce back from past failures and injustices. For teens already sexually active, resiliency is vital in the choice of renewed abstinence. For teens involved in other risk behaviors, it means having the strength to walk away toward a brighter future.
As adults, you can be their greatest resiliency builder! Research shows that kids with a strong sense of connectedness and attachment, who know how to attract and use positive support are resilient.
Parents can accomplish this by exercising the following:
• spend consistent time together
• teach kids how to identify other positive adult and peer support
• teach them that they are special and unique
• monitor their habits and provide boundaries
• model social skills such as leadership, communication, and altruism
Not surprisingly, these indicators of support are also proven to help teens make healthy choices!
As kids enter this new school year, they need you, as adults and parents, to walk with them along the way. We cannot change our pasts, but we can do everything about our futures.
For more information, contact us at On Point.