Connections with significant adults

Aronowitz (2005) demonstrates that adults outside the primary care-giving relationship who have a connection with a young person can support parents and guardians in their efforts to provide discipline. This is the case where connected adults share a common interest in the young person’s safety, well-being and future prospects. They are well positioned to unobtrusively monitor safety and well-being.

Older, more experienced people who are connected with a young person might be considered as role models (Ungar, 2005, p90). These relationships are often fostered through participation in constructive activity. Masten (2001) observes that an appropriate level of guidance and reinforcement create a stronger motivation to learn, solve problems, and engage successfully in the world.

According to Aronowitz (2005), connections with role models and mentors (including parents) that model a positive but realistic view of the future and have reasonable but high expectations engender confidence and optimism that stimulate healthy development. Effective modelling has also been found to help young people counter the harmful effect of negative stereotypes and clarify their values (Aronowitz, 2005).