What parents should know about success

The “Developmental Assets” is a list that research has found of components that predict success for a teenager. I would like to share this with you so that you can reflect about it, and think now, when your child is young, how can you best position him/her to be rated high on these “assets” so they will be successful adults.

As parents of young children, some of these assets relate to you: How involved are you in the community? In your child’s school? How many friends do you have, so your child will have more than you as role models? What community service do you participate in? How supportive are you of your child’s teachers? Do you work together with them? Do you help them understand your child better? Do you coach your child to respond positively to his/her teacher’s expectations?

And: Are you preparing yourself to let your child have power over his/her life? To you give him/her small responsibilities NOW to practice that freedom? The time is now, when your child is young, to coach and model empathy, collaboration, and peacefully resolving conflicts.

Years of research by the Search Institute of Minneapolis have identified 41 “developmental assets” that have a proven relationship to healthy youth development. These assets include both external experiences which provide young people with support, empowerment and boundaries and the internal values, strengths and commitments that they need in order to thrive. As Asset Charts demonstrate, there is a direct relationship between increasing the number of assets and decreasing the incidence of high risk behaviors such as violence and drug and alcohol abuse.

1. FAMILY SUPPORT Family life provides high levels of love and support
2. POSITIVE FAMILY COMMUNICATION Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s)
3. OTHER ADULT RELATIONSHIPS Young person receives support from three or more non-parent adults
4. CARING NEIGHBORHOOD Young person experiences caring neighbors
5. CARING SCHOOL CLIMATE School provides a caring, encouraging environment
6. PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN SCHOOLING Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school
7. COMMUNITY VALUES YOUTH Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth
8. YOUTH AS RESOURCES Young people are given useful roles in the community
9. SERVICE TO OTHERS Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week
10. SAFETY Young person feels safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood
11. FAMILY BOUNDARIES Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts
12. SCHOOL BOUNDARIES School provides clear rules and consequences
13. NEIGHBORHOOD BOUNDARIES Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior
14. ADULT ROLE MODELS Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior
15. POSITIVE PEER INFLUENCE Young person’s best friends-model responsible behavior
16. HIGH EXPECTATIONS Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well
17. CREATIVE ACTIVITIES Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts
18. YOUTH PROGRAMS Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in the community
19. RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution
20. TIME AT HOME Young person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week
21. ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION Young person is motivated to do well in school
22. SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT Young person is actively engaged in learning
23. HOMEWORK Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day
24. BONDING TO SCHOOL Young person cares about her or his school
25. READING FOR PLEASURE Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week
26. CARING Young person places high value on helping other people
27. EQUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty
28. INTEGRITY Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs
29. HONESTY Young person “tells the truth even when it is not easy.”
30. RESPONSIBILITY Young person believes accepts and takes personal responsibility
31. RESTRAINT Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs
32. PLANNING AND DECISION MAKING Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices
33. INTERPERSONAL COMPETENCE Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills
34. CULTURAL COMPETENCE Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds
35. RESISTANCE SKILLS Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations
36. PEACEFUL CONFLICT RESOLUTION Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently
37. PERSONAL POWER Young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.”
38. SELF-ESTEEM Young person reports having a high self-esteem
39. SENSE OF PURPOSE Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.”
40. POSITIVE VIEW OF PERSONAL FUTURE Young person is optimistic about her/his personal future
41. POSITIVE CULTURAL IDENTITY Young person feels proud of her/his cultural background*
*Cornerstone established this asset through local community input.

Dalia Orr

Dalia Orr

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