Clint Dudley: Positive adult connections with youth increase their potential for success

By GREELEY TRIBUNE GUEST COLUMNS

Do your kids have that one friend who’s always at your house? They eat your food, sleep over on the weekends, tag along to family functions and just always seem to be “there?”

It’s pretty easy to be annoyed. But guess what? Chances are that youth is not just hanging around for the free food or because he or she thinks your kids are cool.

They hang around because of YOU; you are playing an important role in their life. That kid at your house, they are there because they know you care about them.

Having a connection with a caring adult is one of the most critical components of raising happy, healthy and resilient children.

Caring adult relationships promote motivation in school, lower rates of drug and alcohol abuse, reduce contact with the justice system, lower suicide rates and promote better overall mental health. Youth with one or more caring adult relationships are much more likely to grow into productive adults.

It would be amazing if every child had a caring positive relationship with an adult right in their own home. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Even if a child has a positive caring relationship at home, multiple caring adult relationships and relationships with adults outside their household only increase a child’s potential for future success.

In 2018, 74 percent of students in Weld County reported that they had an adult to confide in. That’s 15 percent less than students nationally.

The isolation caused by the recent COVID-19 pandemic has likely had a serious negative effect on these numbers. As a community, we absolutely have the responsibility to do better.

Read more here.

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