Youth Protection Program

Step 1 of 2: Submit

This is a read and understand module system. All Advisory Board Members must complete the modules and submit by March 10th. Thank you in advance!

Module V -

Promoting Positive Development

The main task of adolescence is developing role identity. As youth work to develop their sense of self-image, they will go through a number of phases. We want to ensure that Rainbow provides a safe place for that transition.

Promote Positive Development and Minimize Risk Behaviors

  • Healthy Youth Development
  • Protective Factors
  • Relationship Dynamics
  • Behavioral Indicators of Maltreatment
  • Predator Grooming of Children
  • Strategy for Prevention
This module presents youth development as a frame in which Rainbow activities occur. Healthy youth development under-girds the lessons of Rainbow, and is essential to the success and well-being of Rainbow Girls.

Tasks of Adolescence

  • Moving toward independence
  • Separating emotionally from family
  • Emerging as an independent person
  • Clarifying identity and values
  • Becoming responsible for meeting own needs
  • Identifying own feelings, thoughts, behaviors
  • Integrating sexuality into earlier developments
The predictable developmental behaviors and attitudes of adolescence can help us (as adults) to better understand our youth, accept where they are in their development, recognize potential risk factors, and increase our own effectiveness in working with them.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

(see graphic under module list)
  • Self-actualization - make the most of your abilities
  • Aesthetic - attractive surroundings (nice house, car, etc)
  • Cognitive - increase intelligence, learn, discover, create
  • Esteem - respect, self-esteem, fame, confidence
  • Social - friendship, intimacy, family
  • Safety - personal, financial security, health
  • Physiological - eating, drinking, breathing
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy has served as a basis of understanding for human development for over 50 years. He maintained that a pressing need must be met before someone can give their attention to the next higher need. The pyramid graphic shows this order of needs.

Anticipated Behaviors

  • Alternating dependence and independence
  • Exploring new territory without concern for rules or completion
  • Increasingly reasonable and competent with periodic rebellious episodes
  • Working out role identity with girls and boys, peers and adults
  • Learning complex problem solving
  • Increasingly responsible alternating with testing
  • Breaking rules as a means of separation with adults
Being able to anticipate what constitutes typical behaviors helps us better understand the girls with whom we work. There is a certain amount of "back and forth" as adolescents try out new behaviors. It is common for them to revert to previous developmental stages as they learn new tasks. Therefore, we may expect to see alternating mature and child-like behaviors until they can master particular tasks.
*Assuming that physiological and safety needs have been met, adolescents are most likely focused on social (belonging) and esteem issues. However, situations which affect safety or physical well-being may alter this pattern.

Our support of these developmental behaviors is important to the maturing process. Youth need to have safe space in which to try out new behaviors, and also to be reminded of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Adult Response

  • Affirm development tasks
  • Accept feelings
  • Be supportive of process
  • Confront unacceptable or dismissive behaviors
  • Encourage independence
  • Urge being true to self

  • Uncaring behavior
  • Dismiss growth
  • Withhold approval
  • Use or unevenly enforce rigid rules
  • Refuse to negotiate
  • Ignore progress
In keeping with the lessons of Rainbow, youth benefit from the sense of connectedness in activities. Positive reinforcement of desirable conduct is much stronger than punishment of undesirable actions. Criticism should always be constructive and focus on behaviors rather than the person. Youth should never fear someone's wrath.
Our influence on youth is often much stronger than we realize. Sometimes it's enough just to listen with compassion when youth share with us. Keep private matters private, but don't risk someone's safety to do so.

Protective Factors

  • Freedom from Fear - youth need to be physically secure, AND emotionally safe.
  • Supportive community - youth appreciate being accepted for who they are.
  • Praise - Excessive reward is not necessary; simple praise is quite powerful.
  • Hope - Youth benefit from learning to make things right, to make restitution, to apologize as warranted, rather than sit with shame.
  • Tolerance - Learning to accept differences between people helps them mature, and prepare for the rich diversity they may face as they enter new areas of life experience.
  • Empowerment - Giving youth opportunities to take on new responsibilities, to learn from mistakes gives them tangible tools for their future.
  • Advocacy - Youth need to know that adults are on their side, and will stand up for them.

Relationship Dynamics

  • Mutual Respect
  • Fairness/Equality
  • Trust
  • Inclusiveness
  • Support
  • Relaxed
  • Good Communications
  • Caring
  • Honest

  • Dependent
  • One-sided
  • Overly Critical
  • Exclusive
  • Controlling
  • Dramatic
  • Demeaning
  • Sarcastic
  • Manipulative/Secretive
As youth seek to work out their identity and roles with others, it is important to note the type of relationships that are evolving. This is especially important in that girls may view Rainbow activities as a safe space in which to spread their wings.

An unhealthy relationship can develop with a peer or adult, male or female, and may be the precursor to an abusive situation. Leaders and chaperones need to be aware of these dynamics in order to help guide a youth in good decision-making regarding their relationships.

Behavioral Indicators of Maltreatment

  • Withdrawing from friends or activities
  • Changes in temperament or mood
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Learning problems
  • Overly compliant or adaptive
  • Extreme aggression
  • Inappropriate behaviors
Look for behavioral patterns or significant change beyond the anticipated range of teenage emotions and behaviors. Youth who are experiencing physical and emotional changes may be more vulnerable to maltreatment.

SEXUAL ABUSE - running away, excessive bathing, passivity, aggression, depression, substance abuse, seductive behaviors.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE - anxiety, defiance, antisocial behavior, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, irrational fears, apathy, recklessness, destructive behavior.

Predator Grooming of Children

  • Skillful in identifying vulnerable individuals
  • Build trusting relationships with families or youth organization leaders
  • Use successively inappropriate comments and behaviors so calculated that abuse may be well under way before anyone realizes
  • Compliance
- Inducements of preferential treatment
- Blame the victim "you'll get in as much trouble as me, maybe more"
- Threats of violence to family or victim
Grooming is mainly a practice of pedophiles who anticipate and plan their activities in advance, often in great detail. They are skilled at not being overt or getting caught.

Our insurance carrier emphasizes the need for training in Child Grooming in order to be aware of this insidious risk.

CDC's Strategy for Prevention

SAFETY - the extent to which a child is free from fear and secure from harm within their social and physical environment.

STABILITY - the degree of predictability and consistency in a child's environment.

NUTURANCE - the extent to which a significant adult is able to sensitively respond to a child.

These elements have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control to significantly decrease the risk for maltreatment and increase the potential for well-being.


For crisis or referral information, contact Childhelp: (800) 4-A-CHILD

To learn more, visit

Karen Askew, IORG Supreme Assembly
315 East Carl Albert Parkway
(918) 423-1328