Family reading together.

Family Connectedness Protects Young People

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Everyone says that family is important. But have you ever wondered just how much family connectedness helps kids survive the pressures of life? Good question.  Family reading together.

Being connected to the family is actually the most protective factor in reducing negative outcomes for young people. In the US, young people who feel connected to at least one parent are less likely to be involved with every risk behavior than their disconnected peers. Read that line again.

Being connected to the family is huge. Maybe even greater than huge.

Research has found over and over again that family connectedness plays an enormous role in protecting young people from harm. These studies prove that the idea that parental influence diminishes after puberty is a complete myth.

Parental connectedness has more to do with the presence or absence of risk behaviors than race, income, and family structure combined. The role that family plays in protecting young people from harm is repeatedly shown in studies across childhood and adolescence.

Research suggests that positive experiences with a nurturing parent early in life not only create a bond, but also give young children the capacity to establish trust, which is necessary if they are ever going to explore the world around them. Nothing is more important in giving kids strength to face the challenges of our world than having a strong, meaningful bond with a parent.

You can give your children this strength by talking, listening and spending regular quality time with your children.

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.