You can show the children in your family that you love and support them in many ways. When you hug them or say, “I love you,” the sentiment is obvious. Paying attention to them, listening to them, and taking an interest in what they’re doing are less noticeable ways of giving support. After all, does your child feel supported when you come home from an exhausting day, and he or she wants to talk—but you want a break? The young people closest to you know your body language. They listen to what you say—and don’t say. They notice when your words and actions don’t match. Make it a point to be sure they hear your message of love and support loud and clear at all times. Family Support is Asset 1 of 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 young people are more likely to grow up healthy when their families provide them with high levels of love and support. It’s important for parents and guardians to create a home environment that fosters loving words and actions, consistency, and openness. About 68 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say their family life provides high levels of love and support, according to Search Institute surveys. Spending quality time together is the first—and most important—step toward establishing a great family support system.