Topic Twenty One
Spirituality as a protective factor in adolescent development.
In fact, my lab’s research and a growing body of scientific literature about adolescent development shows that spirituality is the most robust protective factor against the big three dangers of adolescence: depression, substance abuse, and risk taking. In short, adolescents who have a personal sense of spirituality are 80 percent less likely to suffer from ongoing and recurrent depressions and 60 percent less likely to become heavy substance users or abusers. Girls with a sense of personal spirituality are 70 percent less likely to have unprotected sex. In the entire realm of human experience, there is no single factor that will protect your adolescent like a personal sense of spirituality. The totality of recent, cutting-edge research paints a definitive and unambiguous picture: the adolescent brain is a spiritual brain, primed for development and responsive to the protective benefits of personal spirituality.
Miller, Dr. Lisa. The Spiritual Child (pp. 208-209). St. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Spiritual health is just as important as physical health, social health, intellectual health for positive adolescent development. All people want to be happy especially teen agers, and if you ask them what will make them happy they often mention idols in the world of the ego such as money, friends, romance, academic and athletic achievement, or getting to the next level in the current video game enthrallment.
What do we do as parents and adults to foster spiritual development? Remember spiritual development is more important than training in a religious tradition. Spirituality has been defined as a relationship with the Transcendent Source of one’s existence.
- What words and names do you use to talk about spiritual ideas with your child?
- Are there spiritual practices which you engage in with your children on a regular basis?
- To what extent do you think your children, grandchildren, students, turn inward to their Higher Power as a means of handling stress and turmoil in their life?