Supportive Adult-Youth Relationships

Supportive Adult-Youth Relationships

The following documents are workshops for Supportive Adult-Youth Relationships.

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Using Relational Strategies
It is not always clear how to establish a supportive adult-youth relationship. That is because relationships between individuals develop differently. Program staff should try to grow positive, trusting relationships with youth through intentional investments of time and through interactions called relational strategies.

Developmental Levels and Inclusion
Youth develop through four major areas of development: physical, social, emotional, and intellectual (cognitive). Understanding the developmental levels of youth helps us understand why youth interact in many situations. Growth in these areas can vary from youth to youth and our understanding of them can help us anticipate how youth interact and react to daily situations.

Responding to Bullying
Bullying is intentional behavior that is unkind, cruel, or malicious. It involves an imbalance of power between youth, and is repeated over time. Program staff need to be able to recognize and respond to bullying consistently within the program.

Responding to Put-Downs
Language is a powerful tool in helping to make a program feel welcome and safe for all youth. Program staff need to recognize speech from youth and adults that degrades or puts down individuals or groups. These remarks could be racist, sexist, homophobic, or demeaning.

Responding to Youth's Questions
In a supportive adult-youth relationship, youth may ask program staff questions about controversial or sensitive topics. These conversations may focus on current events or private events in the youth’s life. Being prepared to hear the youth’s concerns and respond is an important role for youth program staff.

Supporting LGBTQ Youth
LGBTQ youth are particularly susceptible to discrimination and may feel less safe in a variety of environments. In addition, they are more likely to have been bullied or harassed than non-LGBTQ youth. It is important for program staff to be supportive of all youth but especially aware and supportive of LGBTQ youth.

Understanding and Supporting Youth in Crisis
Sometimes youth do not verbally talk about their suicidal thoughts. Program staff need to be trained on how to identify and respond to a youth who reveals through nonverbal or verbal indicators that they have thoughts of suicide.

Being Role Model
A role model is an individual who is looked up to and serves as an example to others. Youth are looking for examples for a variety of behaviors and program staff have a unique opportunity to help guide youth in a long list of social, emotional, and practical skills.