Youth Matter

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“Will I be drafted?” This is the question that is ringing in the ears of parents with children of military draft age as Russia continues its war to occupy Ukraine.  Our young adults are feeling unsure about what this foreign aggression means for them.  This can add to feelings of anxiety already felt by our youth as they navigate political vitriol, hate speech, global warming, social media messaging and the traditional challenges of growing from children to adults.

So, what can WE do as parents and community members who want the best for our youth? 

  • Provide a safe place for youth to talk about their feelings regarding the world and growing up in it—no judgement. Let them get it all out and just listen.
  • Engage in activities that do not include social media—play cards or board games, participate in sporting activities that youth enjoy, support youth in their hobbies and extra-curricular activities.
  • Households are a wonderful place for youth to learn that disparate ideas can coexist in a loving and respectful way. When you and other family members disagree about a political idea or policy, be sure to keep the disagreement respectful, listen to all sides express themselves and provide a safe place for disagreement without punishment—this means no silent treatment or withholding of affection.
  • Pay attention to our youth and their behavior. If you notice signs such as withdrawing from activities they used to enjoy, not engaging with their friends, slipping grades or other concerning behaviors that are out of character, please contact Family Service Society to schedule an appointment with a professional counselor.

While we cannot solve the problems of the world that place pressure on our youth, we can provide safe secure nurturing relationships and environments that support their growth, exploration and healthy decision making.  And as we consistently support the healthy development of our young people, the world will naturally evolve to be more kind.  Youth are our future.  Let’s show them they matter.