Asset 3: Other Adult Relationships

 

When times get tough, kids need adults they can trust

Who did you turn to for advice, comfort, and understanding when you were young? Was there an adult you trusted and enjoyed talking with? If you had an adult outside your family who was there for you during tough times and good times, you probably understand how important a relationship like that is for a young person. Now you can be that adult friend. Whether you’re a neighbor, teacher, tutor, coach, aunt, older cousin, or coffee shop worker—you can be a good friend to a young person. Young people want adults besides their parents to count on. Problem is, we live in a society that doesn’t always encourage adults and youth to spend time together. But the effort is worthwhile. Other Adult Relationships is Asset 3 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people who have three or more caring adults (besides parents or guardians) who support them feel happier and more hopeful, do better in school, and are less likely to rely on drinking, smoking, or drugs to feel good or fit in. About 43 percent of young people, ages 11–18, have three or more nonparent adults in their lives, according to Search Institute surveys. Caring adults are important to the development of young people, especially if those adults are open to discussing tough questions and know how to listen without judging.

Tips for building this asset

Build relationships. Connect with young people outside your own family and make an effort to interact regularly. They need caring adults to bounce ideas off, ask questions of, laugh with, and help sort through sticky situations. If you’re a parent, encourage other caring adults to develop a friendship with your children.

Also try this

In your home and family: Think about your child’s strengths, talents, and interests. Do you know any adults who share those same qualities? Invite one of them to get to know your child better by coming to a school activity or getting together for dessert or a movie.

In your neighborhood and community: Consider becoming a mentor to one or more young people in your community.

In your school or youth program: Tell young people about an adult who supported you when you were young. Ask them to think about someone they counted on during a tough time. Have the young people pair up and brainstorm ways they could initiate more friendships with other caring adults and what they’d want to get from these relationships.

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.search-institute.org/assets.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.


Asset 2: Positive Family Communication

The importance of an open door 

Sometimes conversations with young people—especially your own children—can become confrontational. Learning to listen can help prevent slamming doors and, instead, open them. Though challenging, being available for frequent, in-depth conversations is an important role parents and other adult family members can play in children’s lives—from the time they learn to talk all the way into adulthood. The goal is to promote and maintain an open-door policy. Ask open-ended questions and then listen, listen, listen. Positive Family Communication is Asset 2 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people who experience positive communication with their parents are more likely to grow up healthy and are more willing to seek their parents’ advice and counsel. About 28 percent of young people, ages 11–18, enjoy positive communication with their parents and are willing to seek their parents’ counsel and advice, according to Search Institute surveys. Practice consistently communicating—talking and listening to young people—with an open mind and heart.

Tips for building this asset

Positive communication also means listening to understand a young person’s perspective, not to advocate your position. Be available when young people need you—and even when they think they don’t. Take good care of yourself so when your children want to talk, you can give them your full attention.

Also try this

In your home and family: Make it easy for your child to spend time talking with you: Keep an extra stool or chair in the kitchen, den, home office, or workshop area. When you’re in the car together is a great time to chat, too.

In your neighborhood and community: Ask young people you know caring questions, such as: What was the best thing about school today? What was the best act in the talent show? Why? Listen to their answers and respond accordingly.

In your school or youth program: During parent meetings, discuss the importance of positive communication between parents and children.

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.search-institute.org/assets.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.


Asset 1: Family Support

Love and support: The family foundation

You can show the children in your family that you love and support them in many ways. When you hug them or say, “I love you,” the sentiment is obvious. Paying attention to them, listening to them, and taking an interest in what they’re doing are less noticeable ways of giving support. After all, does your child feel supported when you come home from an exhausting day, and he or she wants to talk—but you want a break? The young people closest to you know your body language. They listen to what you say—and don’t say. They notice when your words and actions don’t match. Make it a point to be sure they hear your message of love and support loud and clear at all times. Family Support is Asset 1 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people are more likely to grow up healthy when their families provide them with high levels of love and support. It’s important for parents and guardians to create a home environment that fosters loving words and actions, consistency, and openness. About 68 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say their family life provides high levels of love and support, according to Search Institute surveys. Spending quality time together is the first—and most important—step toward establishing a great family support system.

Tips for building this asset

Be consistent. Be loving. Develop openness so that the children in your family know that you’re available and you’ll love them—no matter what. If you’re exhausted or angry, say so. Tell children what you’re feeling so that your body language and words are consistent. Inconsistent messages are often misinterpreted by youth to mean that they have done something wrong.

Also try this

In your home and family: Spend one hour a week alone with each of your children. Take a walk, listen to music, cook together, or just hang out.

In your neighborhood and community: Try to arrange a babysitting swap with a neighbor. It’s important for parents and guardians to have time away from children, doing things they enjoy alone and with other adults. This will make family time that much sweeter.

In your school or youth program: Assign students and participants activities that encourage family sharing. For example, one Minnesota class studying a Native American tribe learned that tribal members passed down stories from one generation to the next. The teacher assigned students to ask their parents for family stories to share with the class.

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.search-institute.org/assets.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.


The Support Category of Developmental Assets

Supportive, healthy relationships make a big difference

 

Many studies over the years confirm that caring, supportive relationships with adults are critical for raising young people who are healthy and resilient. Support means freely giving young people love, affirmation, and acceptance; surrounding young people with caring families, guardians, friends, teachers, neighbors, and other adults; and helping young people know they belong, are not alone, and are both loved and lovable. Support is one of eight asset categories that make up Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

 Here are the facts

Research shows that the more loving, supportive, and caring adults a young person knows, the more likely he or she is to grow up healthy. Search Institute has identified six assets in the Support category crucial for helping young people grow up healthy: Family Support, Positive Family Communication, Other Adult Relationships, Caring Neighborhood, Caring School Climate, and Parent Involvement in Schooling.

Tips for building these assets

Developing bonds with young people takes listening and giving of yourself as needed. Be patient. Different kids and situations call for different kinds of support. Comfort, encourage, and help young people. Or simply be there for them. Remember that support doesn’t have to be big or loud to be meaningful.

Also try this

In your home and family: Have each family member name three ways the family supports her or him. Discuss these, as well as the areas (and ways) in which each family member would like to receive more support.

In your neighborhood and community: Model support for young people by being supportive toward others in your neighborhood, both youth and adults—praise them, take time for them, show an interest in them, and work to understand them.

In your school or youth program: Encourage access to at least one caring adult for each young person in the school or youth program.

Want to know more about Search Institute’s other seven asset categories or the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.search-institute.org/assets.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.


The External Developmental Assets

We’re all in this together

As young people grow and learn, they depend a great deal on the adults in their world to guide them. A strong community of caring adults—providing support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, and opportunities for enriching activities—helps young people develop the internal qualities of commitment to learning, positive values, social skills, and positive identity. In short, young people depend on caring adults to provide the external assets that lead to a positive environment. External Assets include the first four asset categories that make up Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people need certain external structures, relationships, and activities in place in their lives to grow up healthy. Search Institute has identified the following ingredients, known as the external assets, as keys to creating a positive environment for young people: Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, and Constructive Use of Time.

Tips for building these assets

Creating a strong foundation in a young person’s life doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. Taking time, remaining patient, and giving a whole lot of love and caring will take you far. For most young people, their family is the center of their lives. Show your children you love them, and also value each one of them as individuals. Clearly communicate to one another your family’s values, boundaries, and expectations (as well as those of the community). Give young people the appropriate amount of freedom to make their own decisions depending on their ages, but also offer options along the way.

Also try this:

In your home and family: Ask your children to name a few people who support them. If they don’t name at least three adults, invite some of the adults you know and trust to get involved in your children’s lives.

In your neighborhood and community: Advocate that your community develop meaningful opportunities for young people, such as creative youth programs or service projects.

In your school or youth program: Make a point to know every young person’s name (no matter how many kids are involved). Smile when you see them and let them know you expect them to always do their best. Acknowledge their achievements and help them when they’re struggling.

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.search-institute.org/assets.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.


The Hopeful Message of the 40 Developmental Assets

Everyone has the power to help young people succeed

The secret to helping children and youth grow into happy, healthy, and responsible adults isn’t really a secret at all. Simply make a point to connect with young people: Get to know them, talk to them, understand them, help them, and build relationships with them. As a caring, trusted adult, you’ll be better able to provide the building blocks young people need to succeed and reach their goals. Adult role models, guides, and friends are very important to young people. With your help, young people can begin to understand themselves and the world around them. We all know growing up isn’t always easy. That’s why young people need adults like you in their lives.

Here are the facts

Research from Search Institute identifies 40 Developmental Assets that have a powerful, positive impact on young people. Children and teenagers who have high levels of these assets get involved in fewer risky behaviors and are much more likely to exhibit the positive values, such as leadership, good health, diversity, and success in school. The bad news is most young people don’t have enough assets. About 59 percent of young people, ages 11–18, have 20 or fewer Developmental Assets, according to Search Institute surveys. The good news is we can change this because we all have the power to build assets in young people’s lives.

Understanding Developmental Assets

The eight asset categories Search Institute has found crucial in helping young people grow up healthy include:

  • Support: Young people need to be surrounded by people who love, care for, appreciate, and accept them.
  • Empowerment: Young people need to feel valued and valuable. This happens when youth feel safe and respected.
  • Boundaries and Expectations: Young people need clear rules, consistent consequences for breaking rules, and encouragement to do their best.
  • Constructive Use of Time: Young people need opportunities—outside of school—to learn and develop new skills and interests with other youth and adults.
  • Commitment to Learning: Young people need a sense of the lasting importance of learning and a belief in their own abilities.
  • Positive Values: Young people need to develop strong guiding values to help them make healthy life choices.
  • Social Competencies: Young people need the skills to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions, and to cope with new situations.
  • Positive Identity: Young people need to believe in their own self-worth and to feel they have control over the things that happen to them.

Each of these categories involves several specific assets that help young people grow up healthy.

Tips for building assets

In your home and family: Post a list of the 40 Developmental Assets on your refrigerator door. Each day, do at least one thing to build assets for each family member.

In your neighborhood and community: Learn the names of the young people who live around you. Find out what interests them, and ask them about those interests.

In your school or youth program: Plan asset-building activities as part of the curriculum or program. For example, engage young people in service-learning projects, social skills training, or reading for pleasure.

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.search-institute.org/assets.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.


Opportunity

Helen Keller said, “worse than not being able to see is not having a vision. Keep your dreams in front of you and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.”

All successful endeavors are built by someone with a vision. They face discouragement and set backs just like anyone else but they don’t let them stop them from accomplishing their goals.  What some see as obstacles and handicaps, others see as an opportunity!

Check out this inspiring video!


Positive Attitude

They say that a positive attitude doesn’t work every time. That is true, but a negative attitude does work every time! Here is a great story of Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer who had her arm bit off by a shark.  She could have easily chose a negative attitude. We can’t always control our circumstances in life but we can chose our attitude toward them.  We can’t control what other people say, think, or do to us. We should not let others dictate how are day goes.  The challenge is to look at each obstacle as an opportunity to learn and grow.  Each dark moment as an opportunity to shine. Look for the good in every day. You just might find it!   Also check out Bethany’s story in the video vault section of this site.


Never Give Up!


Inspirational!

Autistic basketball player Jason McElwain has the game of his life.