Raising Resilient Youth (RRY)
Overview of the “Raising Resilient Youth” (RRY) Module
The “Raising Resilient Youth” module is a 5-session (1.5 to 2 hours each session) module that shares a number of important and effective ideas and practical skills for parents, teachers and other adults on helping to develop youth who are resilient, and able to withstand life challenges and social/environmental pressures.
The module operates under the overarching premise that it is possible for parents or other caring adults to learn more effective knowledge, attitudes, and skills of influence to use with youth when given the opportunity to practice these skills in a safe training environment; and, if practiced enough, these skills can become the natural way of responding to their children or any youth with whom they may have contact. Two inclusive dimensions of parental relationships are addressed in the “Raising Resilient Youth” module because they appear to be most important in child-rearing. The first dimension includes are a large amount of love, acceptance, and/or warmth of the parent or adult toward the child. The second involves a moderate to high level of expectations followed by the consistent application of previously negotiated logical consequences largely expressed through language rather than physical discipline or punishment.
In this component, individuals and families are asked to learn and practice effective communication skills, including listening and validating others’ thoughts and feelings while successfully managing their own thoughts and feelings. Parents and caring adults are also asked to examine and enhance their ability to develop and implement expectations and non-physical consequences with youth in all areas of interest and concern. Further, parents and caring adults are encouraged to include the active participation of youth in setting both expectations and consequences on a wide variety of important issues of interest or concern to the parental figure including alcohol and drugs. This encourages dialogue and enhances a sense of competence, connectedness, and bonding between adult and child.
The “Raising Resilient Youth” Rationale
The basic premises upon which the “Raising Resilient Youth” module was developed are as follows:
- No one can control someone else’s behavior 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- We may influence children through open and honest communication, including listening, sharing, and modeling. We can also share knowledge, information, understanding, and love.
- Responsibility is learned through practice.
- Pain is a natural part of life. It is normal to feel pain.
- When a person hurts, it helps to express feelings.
- Everyone needs feedback from others to know and improve themselves.
- We teach and promote self-esteem in our children by listening to their thoughts and feelings with interest, respect, and understanding even when we disagree.
- Children respond to opportunities to contribute to their family through responsible behavior only after years of practice.
- Developing expectations and consequences is very different from setting rules and exacting punishments because the focus is on teaching and modeling responsibility rather than appearing to be retaliating for parental disappointment.
- Children need and deserve unconditional love, i.e., no misbehavior can cause the absolute loss of love, respect, nurture, support, or compassion.
The Secret to Sustained Behavioral Change
In order to realize sustained behavioral change, the training process may be enhanced if it can be experienced at regular life intervals or developmental states. In fact, this belief has been strengthened through COPES’ replication of the CLC project, called The Family Network. COPES staff members have found that parents who previously participated in the “Raising Resilient Youth” module through the CLC program are once again attending the module in order to practice and hone their skills. Breaking old habits and developing a diverse new set of skills can be overwhelming for many parents. We have found that opportunities for repeated exposure, practice, and continued support of these skills is very helpful for some parents in order to realistically develop sustained behavioral changes. The “Raising Resilient Youth” module has proven to be greatly enhanced when parents or other adults attend all available training modules of the Creating Lasting Family Connections® program.
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