Asset 20: Time at Home

Quality time as a family

Work, school, activities, friends, and other obligations can at times pull family members apart rather than bring them together. You don’t necessarily have to change activities to find family time. Just be creative. Time at Home is Asset 20 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 spending quality time together as a family helps young people strengthen skills such as leadership, good health, and success in school. About 51 percent of young people, ages 11–18, spend no more than two nights a week with friends “with nothing special to do,” according to Search Institute surveys. Protecting young people from risky behaviors and helping them develop positive behavior is easier when you spend time together as a family.

 

Tips for building this asset

 

Simply start spending time together: First, choose an activity the entire family enjoys. Then, commit to do the activity together one evening a week. Decide if you want to continue the activity or try something different. Ask yourselves: How often do we laugh together? Have fun together? Enjoy being with each other?

 

Also try this

 

In your home and family: Cook dinner together, with each family member preparing a dish. Then, for a fun change, eat dessert first.

 

In your neighborhood and community: Invite your child’s friend and his or her family over for an evening of family time—movies, games, popcorn and other treats.

 

In your school and youth program: Avoid scheduling practices or meetings that conflict with the dinner hour. It’s important for families to eat together.

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


Asset 19: Religious Community

Meeting the needs of the spirit

Young people involved in a faith community benefit in at least three ways: 1. They are more likely to have positive values; 2. They have strong bonds with people of different ages and interests; and 3. They spend less time experimenting with risky behaviors than those not involved in such a community. Religious Community is Asset 19 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 spend at least one hour a week involved in activities within a faith-based organization are more likely to: provide service to others, enjoy youth programs, follow and provide positive peer influence, and exercise restraint when it comes to risky behaviors. About 58 percent of young people, ages 11–18, spend one or more hours a week in activities in a religious institution, according to Search Institute surveys. Providing a place for spiritual growth and exploration could help reduce violence, alcohol and other drug use, and sexual activity among young people.

 

Tips for building this asset

 

Faith-based organizations strongly emphasize their ideas of positive values. It’s important for parents to choose carefully. When you find a faith community that supports your family’s values, your kids are more likely to internalize these values and make responsible decisions. Visit various faith-based organizations, and include your children in decisions about how and where to be involved. If you’re already part of a faith community, welcome new parents and young people into your organization.

 

Also try this

 

In your home and family: Include faith and spirituality into your family’s daily life. Choose ways that best fit with your values, traditions, and culture.

 

In your neighborhood and community: Become an active member of a faith community and help promote the well-being of young people in your community.

 

In your school or youth program: Avoid scheduling events that conflict with families’ spiritual or cultural commitments. Use a community calendar of events to help with your planning. If your community doesn’t have such a calendar, consider creating one.

 

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


Asset 18: Youth Programs

After-school activities: They may be extra but they’re also essential

 

It’s appropriate that the word extracurricular starts with the letter “E.” But the word should really be essential-curricular. In fact, they’re so important many schools are now calling them co-curricular activities. For many young people, youth programs at school and in the community are the highlight of their day. They meet new people who share their interests or introduce them to new pursuits. They spend time with adults who also enjoy the activity. And they boost their skills. Youth Programs is Asset 18 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 regularly spend time in sports, clubs, or other youth programs have higher self-esteem and better leadership skills, and are less likely to feel lonely. About 57 percent of young people, ages 11–18, spend three or more hours a week in youth programs, according to Search Institute. Young people involved in interesting activities helps bring out their best.

 

Tips for building this asset

 

Encourage young people to join a school or community activity that matches their interests, or try one they have never considered before. People can learn a lot about themselves by taking a chance on something new. Clubs and programs can also help young people make new friends of all ages, give them leadership opportunities, and make school more fun. Many groups also let them choose how much time and energy to commit.

 

Also try this

 

In your home and family: With your child, make a list of activities he or she wants to learn about. Rank the ideas according to her or his level of interest. Together, research ways to try out the top two choices.

 

In your neighborhood and community: Check your newspaper for upcoming community activities such as charity lunches, art openings, or athletic events. How many are youth-centered or allow youth participation? If you don’t see many, consider starting an activity for young people with your neighbors.

 

In your school or youth program: Discuss the following with the young people in your class or program: If you could start a club of your own, what would it be? How would you get it started? What materials would you need?

 

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


Asset 17: Creative Activities

The arts for fun and learning

 

Whether it’s Mozart or the Rolling Stones, Picasso or graffiti, most people like some type of music or art. Being creative—singing, playing the piano, drawing, or acting—can be fun, and helps young people improve basic and advanced thinking skills. Performing and creating works of art helps young people develop cognition (intellectual comprehension), cultural understanding, communication, and creativity. Learning that’s fun and worthwhile—what could be better? Creative Activities is Asset 17 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 spend three hours or more a week in music, theater, or other arts are more likely to grow up healthy. Only 21 percent of young people, ages 11–18, do so, according to Search Institute surveys. It’s important to help young people find creative outlets that are fun, teach them about themselves, and provide a way to relieve the stresses of everyday life.

 

Tips for building this asset

 

Everyone is an artist in some way. Think of how you may create a new way to surprise someone on her or his birthday, hum along to the radio, dance when you’re in a good mood. These small bursts of artistic expression are important ways people communicate individuality. By bringing more art and music into young people’s lives, caring adults can help to develop another side of their personalities, talents, and skills.

 

Also try this

 

In your home and family: Play magnet art. Here’s how: Visit an art museum as a family. Have each person walk toward the first painting that catches her or his eye (drawing you to it like a magnet). Let each family member explain what he or she likes about the painting he or she chose.

 

In your neighborhood and community: Encourage the creative energies of everyone in the community by supporting your local community theater.

 

In your school or youth program: Integrate music into your regular curriculum or program. Start the day with a bit of classical music, followed at lunch by rock and roll or jazz, and end the day with opera. Discuss everyone’s preferences and invite students and participants to help select songs for the next day.

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


Asset 16: High Expectations

Help young people reach their potential

 

Young people have all kinds of hopes and dreams: winning a contest, going to college, or flying to the moon. When caring adults show they believe in young people and help them reach their potential, youth are better able to do just that. Express your expectations to young people as a hope you hold for them. After all, would you want people to doubt your abilities, not expect much of you, or even give up? Offer encouragement, but avoid applying unreasonable pressure. Remember: Few people succeed at everything they try. High Expectations is Asset 16 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 whose families and teachers have high hopes for them have higher self-esteem, try harder, do better in school, and believe they’ll be able to get good jobs. About 48 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say parents, teachers, and other adults encourage them to do well, according to Search Institute surveys. As a caring adult, you play an important part in setting and adjusting expectations for young people.

 

Tips for building this asset

 

Are you clear about the expectations you have for your children, students, or other young people? Discussing their hopes and dreams with them is the first step in making sure expectations bring out their best.

 

Also try this

 

In your home and family: Talk with your child about a hope or dream you hold for her or him. State a clear expectation that reflects that hope. Ask your child what he or she expects of himself or herself. Ask how you can support her or him in reaching goals. Discuss how together you can find the resources necessary to make that hope or dream a reality.

 

In your neighborhood and community: When you talk to young people in your community, be sure to ask them about their goals and how they plan to achieve them. Praise young people for doing the best they can and encourage them when they encounter setbacks. Use setbacks as an opportunity to discuss what they might do differently next time.

 

In your school or youth program: Talk with students and participants about a time when they met an expectation that at first seemed too high. How did it make them feel? What did they learn from any mistakes along the way?

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


Asset 15: Positive Peer Influence

 

The power to be positive

 

Too often, people jam the words peer and pressure together and think of it as a bad thing. Truth is, that’s only part of the story. Sure, peers have power. But this pressure is only negative when young people feel they’re pushed to do something they know is too risky. Peers can also help young people become more independent by encouraging and supporting healthy choices. Peers can invite one another to join teams or clubs, help with homework, or simply listen. You can help young people choose the kind of peer power they want in their lives and what kind of friends they want to be. If young people and their peers are responsible, positive, and supportive, they are more likely to succeed. Positive Peer Influence is Asset 15 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 whose closest friends behave responsibly do better in school, get into less trouble, and choose activities that give them the best chance of future success. It makes sense for young people to surround themselves with people who bring out their best qualities. In return, they can multiply the benefits by being friends who are also positive influences. About 63 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say their best friends model responsible behavior, according to Search Institute surveys.

Tips for building this asset

 

Peer pressure is especially strong in school. When you notice trouble brewing or young people who are about to make a poor choice—in school or elsewhere—remind them that they have the power to say no—even to a peer or a friend.

 

Also try this

 

In your home and family: Identify people, stories or images that exemplify the positive power of peers. Use these examples to help your child make a collage of inspiring quotes and images for a friend.

 

In your neighborhood and community: Talk with young people in your neighborhood about the qualities you admire in each of them. Encourage them to be a positive influence in the lives of their friends and peers.

 

In your school or youth program: Pair off students and participants. Have them take turns discussing a time when they positively influenced a friend or peer. After each story, talk about how it felt to use positive peer pressure.

 

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


Asset 14: Adult Role Models

Young eyes are watching you

 

Sometimes adults do things they aren’t proud of—swear, watch too much television, argue. Making mistakes is understandable, but remember young people look up to adults. They see you—especially if you’re a parent—as the type of person they want to become someday. They want heroes. That’s why it’s so important to be the best person you can be. Adult Role Models is Asset 14 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 exhibit positive, responsible behavior when they have parents and other adults in their lives who model positive, responsible behavior. Having good role models is one of the greatest desires of most young people. However, only 27 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say their parents and other adults model positive, responsible behavior, according to Search Institute surveys. Let’s all try a little harder to “practice what we preach.”

 

Tips for building this asset

 

According to experts, what most young people need more than anything else in their lives is positive social interaction with adults. These interactions expose young people to real-life heroes. Be a role model for the young people around you, and help them find other responsible adults to be part of their lives as well. The more positive role models young people have, the better!

 

Also try this

 

In your home and family: Do your best to model appropriate behavior at all times. When you make mistakes, admit them. Apologize for missteps.

 

In your neighborhood and community group: Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with a young person in your neighborhood. Begin by asking: How did you meet your best friend? What is your favorite family tradition?

 

In your school or youth program: As a group, list questions young people can ask their adult role models to learn more about choices they made. Then, have students or participants interview that person. Discuss their findings.

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


Asset 13: Neighborhood Boundaries

Make time to be a good neighbor

 

When people don’t take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior in their neighborhood, sometimes it’s due to fear. But often it’s due to peoples’ busy and somewhat solitary lives. Young people fare better when they have adults in their lives who expect them to do their best. To achieve the most positive effects, parents and guardians, schools, youth organizations, and, yes, neighbors all need to be involved in providing rules, monitoring behavior, and setting high expectations. Remember: everyone is someone’s neighbor. Young people benefit from knowing their neighbors are looking out for their safety, as well as monitoring their behavior. Don’t become paralyzed by fear, apathy, or the pure busyness of life. Neighborhood Boundaries is Asset 13 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 will focus more of their energy on positive activities than on negative ones if they live in a neighborhood in which neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior. About 47 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say they have neighbors who take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior, according to Search Institute surveys. Creating and enforcing neighborhood boundaries helps promote leadership, fairness, and success among young people.

 

Tips for building this asset

 

You don’t have to be a community organizer to help create a community where neighbors monitor young people’s behavior. All you need to do is get to know the people who live near you—children and their parents. Talk with parents about the boundaries they would like for their children in the neighborhood.

 

Also try this

 

In your home and family: Talk with your child about the importance of following rules in your neighborhood and community: What are the boundaries of our neighborhood? How do you know? Which neighbors seem to notice what you do? How do you feel about that?

 

In your neighborhood and community: Get together with other adult neighbors—parents and nonparents. Discuss neighborhood boundaries. Identify three boundaries everyone agrees on, such as no alcohol at teen parties. Agree to help enforce the boundaries. And when you see young people making a positive contribution and setting a good example, be sure to thank them.

 

In your school or youth program: Talk to the young people in your class or group about their neighborhoods. Do they know what the boundaries are? Do they feel safe in their neighborhood? Do they care about their neighborhood and how other young people behave there? If they feel they don’t know their neighbors or their neighborhood boundaries, brainstorm ways they could make positive changes in their neighborhood

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 12: School Boundaries

Make sure everyone knows the rules

 

All schools need rules. In fact, young people actually learn better when school boundaries—expectations for how they should act—are clear and consistent. Setting these standards isn’t always easy, however, and neither is enforcing them. Many schools struggle with how to discipline students appropriately and effectively. It’s a balancing act in which school administrators, parents, and students play important roles. Working together, families and educators can ensure young people reach their highest potential. School Boundaries is Asset 12 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 attend schools with clear rules and consequences are more likely to display positive behaviors and attitudes, rather than engage in risky behaviors. About 52 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say their schools provide clear rules and consequences, according to Search Institute surveys. Work to ensure schools help young people focus on positive, rather than negative, behavior.

 

Tips for building this asset

 

It’s important for parents to stay involved in their children’s school. Teachers and administrators can help by creating a conduct code at the beginning of the school year and sending it home to parents. Parents can reinforce the rules set by the school. Conflicts may still occur, and when they do, allow everyone—students, parents, teachers, and others in the community—to feel comfortable voicing their concerns and suggesting solutions to the problem. The more families, schools, and communities work together to establish consistent boundaries, the better off young people will be because they’ll know what to expect.

 

Also try this

 

In your home and family: Learn about school boundaries by visiting or volunteering at your child’s school. Ask yourself: Overall, how are students behaving? How do adults and students interact with one another? When conflicts occur, how are they resolved? How do the school boundaries match your home boundaries? When you’re at home with your child, talk to her or him about why school rules are important.

 

In your neighborhood and community: Understand the local school leaders’ expectations for the behavior of young people in the neighborhoods surrounding the school. If the school handbook isn’t specific, help administrators address the issue.

 

In your school or youth program: Work with the young people in your school or program to create clear rules and norms about appropriate behavior.

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 11: Family Boundaries

Clear, concise, consistent boundaries—for all

 

What happens if you’re late to a business meeting? Run a red light? Fail to pay for your morning coffee? Rules and expectations are important. They help establish the do’s and don’ts for society and help things run smoothly. But rules are not automatically known; they must be created and learned. That’s where parents come in. If young people are not taught early on that there are rules they must follow, they think they can do anything they want at any time. And, while we may like the freedom to make choices, having boundaries to follow—and expectations to live up to—can make life easier for everyone. Family Boundaries is Asset 11 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 engage in positive behaviors and attitudes—and less likely to practice high-risk behaviors—if their families set clear rules and consequences and monitor the young people’s whereabouts. About 46 percent of young people, ages 11–18, have families with clear rules and consequences and parents or guardians who regularly monitor the young people’s whereabouts, according to Search Institute surveys. Working with young people to set boundaries is an important way to show them you care.

 

Tips for building this asset

 

As a family, set clear, concise, and consistent boundaries based on your values and expectations. Make sure everyone—not just the children—is following the same rules, although there may be some differences depending on ages and maturity. Be sure to set up clear consequences for family members who break the rules. Also, make it clear everyone must always let the rest of the family know where he or she is.

 

Also try this

 

In your home and family: Meet monthly as a family to discuss boundaries: Are they fair? Do they still work? Do they reflect your values and principles? Adjust them as needed.

 

In your neighborhood and community: Communicate with your neighbors about the rules and boundaries in your family. Ask for their support. For example, neighbors can remind children to ask a parent’s permission before accepting sweets.

 

In your school or youth program: Divide students or participants into groups. Have each group discuss family boundaries and consequences. Identify the reason for each rule.

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.