Children have risk, protective factors

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling and Katers

What factors can extended families and communities address as we try to keep children and adolescents safe?

Communities that Care has proven suggestions based on years of research to prevent problems before they start. CTC was developed by J. David Hawkins, PhD, and Richard F. Catalano PhD through decades of research and collaboration with communities across the country.

There is a CTC group of health, mental health, law enforcement, judicial, education, business and faith professionals and volunteers in most Upper Peninsula counties.

Check with your county health department to help.

Kids’ protective factors

Protective factors in families and communities buffer young people from developing health and social problems including substance abuse.

Ask yourself:

• Do your children have opportunities for prosocial involvement in the community like Scouts, sports, Y, 4-H, faith-based clubs, and other youth groups? Do they get recognition for their prosocial involvement? Prosocial means having a positive helpful view toward other people in general.

• Does the family attach and bond into a strong family unit? Does the family provide opportunities for prosocial involvement like working, playing, volunteering, discussing together? Do members receive recognition for prosocial involvement like praise and hugs?

At school do children have opportunities for participation in prosocial learning, volunteering, working hard, helping, and many activities that nurture their talents and potential? Do children receive recognition for their prosocial involvement?

Are they learning and using social skills? Do they believe in the moral order (like the Ten Commandments, etc.)? Do they have emotional control? Do they interact with prosocial peers?

Kids’ risk factors

These factors increase the likelihood that your young people will develop health and social problems that the community and extended family will need to address.

Risk factors in a community include: low attachment to the community, community disorganization, community and personal instability and moving around, laws and norms favorable to drug use, perceived availability of drugs, economic disadvantage.

Risk factors in the family include: poor family management and discipline, family conflict, family history of antisocial behavior, parents approving of problem behavior.

Risk factors in school include: academic failure, low commitment to school and activities, and bullying.

Risk factors for an individual and peer group include: rebelliousness, early initiation and consistent problem behavior like smoking, impulsiveness, antisocial behavior, liking to do problem behaviors, hanging out with peers involved with problem behavior, sensation seeking (substance abuse, reckless behaviors, vandalism), being rewarded for antisocial behavior.

Add to this stew technology and social media overuse and misuse and folks there is a problem.

Everyone is welcome to a free viewing of the award- winning video “Screenagers” with suggestions to help families Monday Oct. 2 Kaufman Auditorium, Marquette; Tuesday Oct. 10 Mather Elementary, Munising; Wednesday Nov. 1 Peterson Auditorium, Ishpeming. All are at 6:30 p.m. Run time is 70 minutes.