Supportive, healthy relationships make a big difference
Many studies over the years confirm that caring, supportive relationships with adults are critical for raising
young people who are healthy and resilient. Support means freely giving young people love, affirmation,
and acceptance; surrounding young people with caring families, guardians, friends, teachers, neighbors, and
other adults; and helping young people know they belong, are not alone, and are both loved and lovable.
Support is one of eight asset categories that make up Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the
qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.
Here are the facts
Research shows that the more loving, supportive, and caring adults a young person knows, the more likely
he or she is to grow up healthy. Search Institute has identified six assets in the Support category crucial for
helping young people grow up healthy: Family Support, Positive Family Communication, Other Adult
Relationships, Caring Neighborhood, Caring School Climate, and Parent Involvement in Schooling.
Tips for building these assets
Developing bonds with young people takes listening and giving of yourself as needed. Be patient. Different
kids and situations call for different kinds of support. Comfort, encourage, and help young people. Or
simply be there for them. Remember that support doesn’t have to be big or loud to be meaningful.
Also try this
In your home and family: Have each family member name three ways the family supports her or
him. Discuss these, as well as the areas (and ways) in which each family member would like to
receive more support.
In your neighborhood and community: Model support for young people by being supportive
toward others in your neighborhood, both youth and adults—praise them, take time for them, show
an interest in them, and work to understand them.
In your school or youth program: Encourage access to at least one caring adult for each young
person in the school or youth program.
Click below for more interest on each asset.