The impact of a positive adult influence on our youth

For teens, having a positive adult influence is mission critical to their overall health and well-being.

Whether it’s a teacher, parent, health care provider, coach, mentor or other family member, having a trusted adult to confide in when it comes to issues or problems is an extremely important determinant on a teen’s decision-making.

Looking at 2015-2016 RAAPS data, nearly 1 in 10 out of the more than 63,000 youth completing RAAPS, indicated that they did not have at least one trusted adult in their lives. Further investigation of the data shows that adolescents who do not have a trusted adult to talk to about problems or worries are 2.2 times more likely to engage in risky behaviors than adolescents who report having a positive adult influence in their lives.

These results emphasize the crucial need for adults to build strong relationships with teens during adolescence, a time when they are starting to engage in risky behaviors, considering these behaviors are the primary cause of premature death and serious injuries.

The infographic below shows the significant findings of this two-year study on the value of a positive adult influence, including actions to help teens connect with a trusted adult.

Are you a positive adult influence? Does your teen view you as a trusted adult?

If you were to answer those questions honestly, what would it be? Do your kids feel comfortable going to you about issues they’re dealing with? The bigger question may be do you feel comfortable talking to them about common teen pressures? Fueled by her expertise and experience in adolescent behavior, Dr. Jennifer Salerno developed the Teen Speak series to help parents confidently connect with their teens on common risk behaviors like substance use, sex, and mental health-related concerns. Teen Speak provides realistic scenarios and a detailed roadmap on how to tackle conversations with ease, creating a trusting relationship that supports your teen’s positive decision making—even when you are not around!

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