Trusted Adults

This post on trusted adults is the third in a series of nine topics requested by puberty educators.

This post on trusted adults is the third in a series of nine topics requested by puberty educators.

Children need trusted adults in their lives. They need people who can help them learn about the world around them and sort through the sexualized messages and images that are all around them. Since children don’t yet have the life experience to interpret confusing information and analyze it for accuracy, they need to be able to talk to trusted adults who can support and guide them. Having a trusted adult is a protective factor for children; it delays sexual activity and other risky behaviors.

Who Is a Trusted Adult?

It depends on the individual child to determine who they trust. These are a few characteristics of a trusted adult:

  • Helps the child feel safe and treats them with respect
  • Listens carefully and responds with warmth and support as the child shares whatever is on their mind
  • Clarifies confusing information, guides the child in making decisions, and gets help when needed
  • Might be a family member, school staff, or a community member; they are typically part of the child’s social network

Identify Trusted Adults

Educators can help students identify the adults they trust in their lives. In Puberty: The Wonder Years, this activity is included in the first lesson of each grade level curriculum. First brainstorm a list of possible trusted adults. Then, guide students in naming their own adults they can trust. This helps students select the people they can go to whenever they have questions or concerns.

Prepare to Talk with Trusted Adults

Educators can also help students prepare for a conversation with their trusted adults. Often, the most difficult part is knowing how and when to begin a conversation. By practicing ahead of time, students can be more confident when they really want to initiate a conversation with their identified adults. The first lesson if each grade level of Puberty: The Wonder Years provides tips to talking to an adult they trust and gives students an opportunity to practice.

Video Discussion

Watch this video to learn more about encouraging students to talk to their Trusted Adults.


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