Developmental Asset #14: Adult Role Models

Whether you are a parent, aunt or uncle, teacher, employer, neighbour, or friend, you are modelling behaviour for the young people around you. All of us can do better when it comes to setting a good example for our youth, so be aware, and keep asking yourself whether you are modelling positive behaviours and attitudes. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

 

  1. If you are co-parenting, whether in one home or different homes, your relationship with your co-parent is the most important relationship that your child observes. Always do your best to treat one another with respect, to keep healthy communication, and to work together as a team. If conflict arises, keep your children out of it.

 

  1. Model peaceful problem-solving. Don’t let young people see you yelling, hitting, or using angry words. If a child observes bullying, intimidation, or verbal or physical violence from adults or children, talk to them about it. Discuss how the situation might have been handled differently.

 

  1. Know when to tell your children that you’re sorry. If you’ve made a mistake, admit it openly and sincerely, and tell them you’ll try to do better in the future. Avoid giving gifts or indulgences if you’re feeling guilty.

 

  1. If you make a mistake or misstep, if your plans go awry, or if you feel embarrassed, show your youth that you are not afraid to try again. Let them see you persevere, work hard, and stay positive in the face of challenges.

 

  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.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Just When I Needed You: True Stories of Adults Who Made a Difference in the Lives of Young People by Deborah Fisher

 

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.

Developmental Asset #12: School Boundaries

Just as it’s important that teens be given clear boundaries and consequences at home, it is equally important that they be held accountable in their school environment. If you are a Phoenix family, your teens may not spend very much time on site at school, but they are still held to standards of respectful behaviour while they are here. They, and you, are also responsible for submitting work on time, attending meetings, and interacting appropriately with Phoenix staff. Whether you are with Phoenix or with another educational institution, here are some ways you can take action to make sure your teen is receiving and respecting boundaries at school.

 

  1. Lead by example. Be respectful of staff, rules, deadlines, facilities, and other families, and make sure your children are as well.

 

  1. Keep communication open with your child’s Learning Coach about deadlines and expectations.

 

  1.  Review your teen’s work after every study session to make sure that the work is getting done and that progress is being made.

 

  1. School should feel safe for children. Talk to them about their school experience, and if you find out that bullying is going on, or have any other safety concern, report it.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: RECOMMENDED READING: Safe Places to Learn: 21 Lessons to Help Students Promote a Caring School Climate by Paul Sulley

 

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.

Developmental Asset #6: Parental Involvement in Schooling

If you are a Phoenix family, this is part of your way of life. One of our core philosophies at Phoenix is that parents are the primary educators of their children. From Grade 7 on, students need to be given more opportunities to work independently, but that does not mean they can learn effectively without adult supervision. As the primary educators of your teens, you are the ones to hold them accountable, to make sure they are making progress, and to advocate for them when problems arise. Here are a few ways you can remain positively involved in the education of your adolescent.

 

  1. Instead of asking your teen whether they have finished their work, have them show you. You should be reviewing their work after every study session to make sure that the work is getting done and that progress is being made. If they are not making progress in a certain area, contact their Learning Coach. It is crucial to hold your teen accountable.

 

  1. Keep communication open with your child’s Learning Coach about deadlines and expectations. If you have a question or concern about your child’s learning, take initiative and get in touch with their Learning Coach to make a plan. Don’t just wait to hear from them.

 

  1. Find ways to spend time on site at Phoenix and be present for your child’s learning here. Consider volunteering with us or joining one of our clubs.

 

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.

Developmental Asset #5: Caring School Climate

If you’re a Phoenix family, you’ve already got this one pretty well covered! Anytime young people gather in one place, though, it’s important to keep an eye out for bullying, peer pressure, and other interpersonal conflicts. This applies not just to schools, but to clubs, sports teams, church groups, and any other group to which your adolescent belongs. Here are a few things you can do to help make sure those environments are safe for your adolescents.

 

  1. Talk with your kids. Ask them about their friends. Ask them what it’s like for them in the library, in the locker room, on the bus, etc., and keep talking about it, even if they don’t seem anxious to respond.

 

  1. If you find out that bullying is going on at school or in any other organization, report it.

 

  1. If you find out that your own child is bullying or being bullied, do not react with visible anger, fear, or disappointment. These reactions stress out your child and make them less likely to communicate openly with you. Begin by listening carefully and respectfully to your child’s point of view. Then work together to come up with a plan going forward.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Safe Places to Learn: 21 Lessons to Help Students Promote a Caring School Climate by Paul Sulley

 

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.

Developmental Asset #4: Caring Neighbourhood

Having caring neighbours around helps young people feel safe and supported. As an adult, here are a few things you can do to support your neighbourhood kids, and to help build a caring neighbourhood for your own children.

 

  1. Have a neighbourhood celebration or block party on the first and last day of each school year. Invite parents, youth, teachers, and other neighbours.

 

  1. Let the kids in your neighbourhood know that they can cut through your yard, play basketball in your driveway, sled down your hill, or shovel your walk for cash – whatever you’re comfortable with.

 

  1. If you live in an apartment or condo, greet people in common areas such as front steps, lobbies, courtyards, and laundry rooms. Start conversations and get to know your neighbours.

 

  1. Organize informal activities for the youth in your neighbourhood, like pick-up basketball. If they’re interested, offer to hold it every week.

 

  1. Organize neighbourhood-wide event such as bake sales, garage sales, or swap meets.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Tag, You’re It! 50 Ways to Connect With Young People by Kathleen Kimball-Baker

 

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.

Developmental Asset #3: Other Adult Relationships

It is an asset for adolescents to have positive relationships with three or more adults who are not their parents. As a parent, it’s not too late to identify a caring adult outside your family who can take some pressure off of you during those turbulent teen years. Do you know someone who could be a mentor for your teen? Someone who shares their passion? A teacher or instructor? An employer? An older coworker?

 

As a caring adult, here are a few ways you can connect with a teenager in order to be a positive force in his or her life.

 

  1. Swap CDs or mp3 players with a teenager. Listen to each other’s music (together, if you can) and discuss it.

 

  1. Invite a young friend to help you till, plant, and tend a garden patch or create a container garden with potted plants.

 

  1. Find a gourmet goody buddy! Bake cookies and other treats with a young person as a way to spend time together.

 

  1. Send cards or other messages to the teens in your life to mark birthdays or holidays and to celebrate their successes and milestones.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Connect 5: Finding the Caring Adults You May Not Realize Your Teen Needs by Kathleen Kimball-Baker

 

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.

Developmental Asset #2: Positive Family Communication

It is important that young people feel safe confiding in their parents and seeking their counsel. Here are some ways that you can help build positive communication in your family.

 

  1. Be willing to talk with your children while driving, riding, or walking. Sometimes not having to make constant eye contact can make your child more comfortable.

 

  1. Use mealtimes to learn about each family member’s taste in music. Choose one night a week as music night and rotate who gets to choose.

 

  1. Hang a whiteboard on your refrigerator or a common area, such as an entryway. Use it to write loving messages to each other or to let everyone know where you are, how you can be reached, and when you will be home.

 

  1. Regardless of your teenagers’ interests and current involvement, have regular sit-down conversations with them about their commitments to schoolwork, friendships, jobs, and so on. Make sure they are making intentional decisions about how to spend their time, and that their choices are respectful of your family’s schedule.

 

  1. Encourage your children to keep in contact with long-distance relatives through emails, phone calls, and mail. Have them exchange photographs and artwork to display in your home.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Conversations on the Go: Clever Questions to Keep Teens and Grown-ups Talking by Mary Ackerman

 

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.