Developmental Asset #33: Interpersonal Competence

It is of great benefit to a young person to help ensure that they develop empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. Here are a few ways you can take action to model and foster proper interpersonal behaviour for your kids at any age.


  1. Children should not hear you bad-mouthing people. This might seem obvious, but pay attention. Do you ever speak negatively about rival sports teams, coworkers, or other people with whom you compare or compete? What about bullies who have made life difficult for your children? Save it for when you’re in the company of adults. Young people need to see you modelling respect for others.


  1. Remind your children to treat you with respect (say “please” and “thank you,” answer questions when asked, acknowledge your presence, etc.).


  1. Encourage your child to make and maintain a variety of friendships. It’s good for them to have friends in different areas of life, i.e. school friends, work friends, neighbourhood friends, church friends, favourite cousins, etc.


  1. Use active listening and “I statements” with your family. When your kids experience clear and respectful communication in your home, they are more likely to be empathetic and respectful to others in the world outside.


RECOMMENDED READING: The Best of Building Assets Together: Favorite Group Activities That Help Youth Succeed by Jolen Roehlkepartain.


Search Institute has identified 40 building blocks of healthy development, known as Developmental Assets, that help adolescents to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Visit us here every Wednesday to read about different ways that you, your family, and your community can take action to help equip our young people develop resilience and achieve success in life.