How To Prevent Violence by Helping At-Risk Kids

by , 12/21/12

child abuse, healthy communities, sandy hook, random violence, resilient youth, youth mentor, community connections, village life, healthy families, healthy kids, mentoring programs,

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What makes kids resilient and helps them grow into caring adults? 

The fact that some people turn out okay in spite of their past while others don’t is an actual phenomenon called, “Resilient youth.” Most people I know seem to think that if you come from a bad home there’s a better than average chance you’ll develop into an anti-social and/or reckless adult, causing harm to yourself or others. Research backs this up as partially true. However, research also says that even severely at-risk youth can develop into confident, competent and caring adults if they have some protective factors in place that help them form resiliency. Resiliency depends on one or all of the following factors:

  • Protective factors in schools.
  • Protective factors in families.
  • Protective factors in communities.

My brother and I didn’t have protective factors at home, and due to us acting out so much, schools wrote us off as well. Most of our teachers considered us rule breakers at best and lost causes at worst. My sister fared better in school (she was a rule follower, in spite of our home-life) so she got some school supports, but also lacked the protective home factors. What we all had, luckily, were some major protective factors from random members of the community. Research on resilient youth backs this up as incredibly significant, noting that kids who have at least one caring adult in their world are far less likely to turn into adults who harm others.

“With the above in mind, I believe that it’s extremely important that we focus on kids in our communities. It will take a lot of people to change gun laws and the mental health care system. However, it can take a little as one person to make a difference for a child going through a difficult time. You have the ability to be that one adult who ensures that a child grows up to be decent instead of violent. You have the means today to help create a more supportive community.”

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