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 #13: Neighbourhood Boundaries

As neighbours, it is in everyone’s best interest that we remain aware of the youth in our community and what they are doing.Young people need to know that they are not just accountable to themselves, their families, and their schools, but to the community at large. As a neighbour, here are some ways you can help support youth and their parents.

 

  1. It is important to let a child’s parents know if they are misbehaving in your neighbourhood, but it is equally important to relay praise for responsible behaviour and acts of kindness. Reinforce good behaviour by acknowledging it.

 

  1. Meet the parents of your children’s friends. If your preteens are going on outings unsupervised, communicate with the other parents to agree on plans and coordinate pick-up times.

 

  1. Make your home one that kids want to come to. Maintain authority in your home, but be welcoming.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Parenting Preteens with a Purpose: Navigating the Middle Years by Kate Thomsen and The Best of Building Assets Together: Favorite Group Activities That Help Youth Succeed by Jolene 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.

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 #11: Family Boundaries

Adolescence is a time of shifting roles and responsibilities, for both kids and parents. For many kids, it’s a time of rebellion, of bucking against parental authority. As your kids become more independent and capable, they will be taking on more responsibility for their actions, and family rules and expectations may change. It is important to be flexible in the face of these changes, but it is also vitally important to maintain boundaries and rules in your family. Your children need to know that their actions have consequences. Here are a few important things to remember.

 

  1. Monitor your teens’ whereabouts. Always ask where they are going, with whom, and when they will be home.

 

  1. Hold your kids of all ages accountable for their behaviour online. This is a challenging area for parents who feel like they’re less web-savvy than their children, but let them know early on that you’re tracking their activity online, and then make sure that you do it. Don’t try to trap them – instead, if they’re aware of your monitoring, they are more likely to use the Internet responsibly. Parenting.com has this very helpful article with the provocative title “How to Spy on Your Child Online.” It’s a worthwhile read about why it’s so important to monitor your kids’ online activity, how you can do it, and how to do it in the right spirit, with a clean conscience. Internet safety is about more than just protecting your kids from predators, scams, and viruses now – it’s also about how the wrong social media post can adversely affect their futures.

    For your younger kids and preteens, Google has a new program called Be Internet Awesome. It has resources for educators (that’s you!), a pledge for family members to sign, and an online game to help kids learn about sharing with care, protecting personal information, distinguishing fact from fiction, and respect for others.

3. When your teen lashes out at you, try to respond with love, not with anger. Say something like, “I’m sorry that you’re feeling that way right now, and I love you, but the way you’re behaving is not okay.”

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Parenting Preteens with a Purpose: Navigating the Middle Years by Kate Thomsen

 

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 #10: Safety

Adolescents do better in all areas if they feel safe and secure in their homes, schools, and neighbourhoods. It is also vitally important that they be well-informed about safety now that they are becoming more independent. Here are some ways you can help create a safe and secure environment for your adolescent, but remember, you’re not alone – seek help from professionals, police, and other caring adults in your community when you have a safety concern.

 

  1. First and foremost, create a loving, violence-free home. If there is ever a time when you feel angry or upset enough to become physically or emotionally violent with your teen, remove yourself from the situation immediately. Leave the room. You may want to call a trusted friend or counselor, go for a walk, or visit a neighbour. The important thing is that you physically leave your teen for however long it takes to cool down.

 

  1. If you think your child’s safety or the safety of someone else is endangered, or if your child is engaging in risky behaviour of any kind, don’t wait. Act now. Intervene, and enlist others’ help to do so. If necessary, seek professional support.

 

  1. Bullying threats that mention weapons or explosives must be taken seriously and reported to police.

 

  1. Talk openly and honestly with your child about drugs and alcohol, especially in relation to driving. Encourage them to ask questions.

 

  1. Talk to your child about the relationship between driving and emotions, and let them know that driving while distracted, angry, or sad can be as dangerous as driving impaired.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Empowering Youth: How to Encourage Young Leaders to Do Great Things by Kelly Curtis and Helping Teens Handle Tough Experiences: Strategies to Foster Resilience by Jill R. Nelson and Sarah Kjos

 

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 #9: Service to Others

This is closely related to Developmental Asset #8: Youth As Resources. Young people are empowered when they have opportunities to serve others, especially when it becomes part of their regular routine. There are many ways for your adolescent to provide meaningful service. Here are just a few.

 

  1. Encourage your teen to organize or join a cleanup crew for a residential area or park.

 

  1. Work together with your teen to help someone in need. Help an older neighbour with yard work or household maintenance. Bring food to someone in your community who is grieving or sick. Maybe ask Miss Lisa at Phoenix, who runs our Care Program, whether there are any Phoenix families who could benefit from your help or support.

 

  1. Volunteer together for a charity. If you make financial contributions, consider helping your teen to do so as well. Ask them whether they have their own cause in mind that they would like to support.

 

  1. Provide foster care for a pet through your local animal shelter.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Empowering Youth: How to Encourage Young Leaders to Do Great Things by Kelly Curtis and The Best of Building Assets Together: Favorite Group Activities That Help Youth Succeed by Jolene 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.

Developmental Asset #8: Youth As Resources

A community serves its young people well when it treats them as valuable resources. As parents, teachers, and community members, here are a few ways you can empower adolescents by giving them useful roles.

 

  1. If you’re in charge of a charity fundraiser, celebration, or other event, involve your teenagers. Give them meaningful tasks so that they can contribute to your event’s success. If you run a business or charity, employ young people and help them succeed at the jobs you give them.

 

  1. Encourage your teens to support their peers, to listen and be there for them when they need help. Being a supportive friend is good for your teen’s self-esteem.

 

  1. Encourage your teens to act as positive role models for younger children. Maybe get them involved in Phoenix’s mentorship program. If you have a younger child, encourage positive relationships with well-adjusted teens who share their interests.

 

  1. Encourage entrepreneurship in teens. Hire neighbourhood kids to shovel your walk, mow your lawn, or babysit. Encourage your own teens to think of creative ways to earn money through their own marketable skills.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Empowering Youth: How to Encourage Young Leaders to Do Great Things by Kelly Curtis

 

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.