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Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future

NCJ Number
L K Brendtro; M Brokenleg; S V Bockern
Date Published
100 pages
This book examines the alienation of children in modern society, presents a holistic Native American philosophy of child development, and highlights the principles and strategies for creating reclaiming environments for youth.
Part I focuses on the interactions of children with their environments as the source of many of their problems. One debilitating transaction involves destructive relationships as experienced by the rejected child hungry for love; another involves climates of futility that cripple children with feelings of inadequacy and a fear of failure; learned irresponsibility gives youth a sense of powerlessness; and loss of purpose comes to self-centered youth who search for meaning in a world of confusing values. The holistic, Native American approach to child development counters these destructive influences. It emphasizes significance in the acceptance, attention, and affection of others; competence through the mastery of one's environment; power through the ability to control one's behavior and gain the respect of others; and virtue as judged by the values of one's culture and significant others. Guidelines for creating a reclaiming environment for youth pertain to strategies for establishing positive relationships, alternative learning experiences that reverse failure patterns, management approaches that counter irresponsibility, and experiences that foster prosocial values. 66 references.