Why do teens who seem to have everything start taking drugs? Why do teens or children start taking drugs or engage in high risk behaviors in the first place? The Search Institute sought to answer these questions and more. And they found that raising a child to be productive, healthy, and responsible included several different factors.
The Search Institute began about fifty years ago as a non profit, independent, non sectarian organization that was committed to creating healthier communities for young people. They serve over 600 communities and have educated over 6 million people in private sector, schools, religious communities, higher education and youth organizations. The Search Institute mission is to provide those resources, leadership opportunities and knowledge to children, youth and community.
Through extensive research and studies, the Search Institute came up with 40 Developmental Assets that every child should have. Research and studies show that if children have these assets and are encouraged to develop them throughout their young lives and into their teen years, they will grow up to be more responsible, caring and aware individuals. It has also been proven that they will engage in less risky behaviors such as alcohol, drugs, and suicide.
What is interesting about these developmental assets is that it includes a lot of things that many might already be aware of–especially in regards to what parents can do for their children. Teaching them fundamental skills, helping them with homework, being aware of where they are and who they are friends with and opportunities to openly communicate and make decisions within the family are some of the assets that children need to learn from their parents.
Some of these assets are probably things that you may not even be aware of. One of the developmental assets states that children should have positive non parent role models in their life–neighbors, teachers, or a friends’ parents. These role models play an important role in a child’s life and serve as powerful examples to them. Also making sure that neighbors are actively engaged in being aware of your children and their whereabouts and positively interacting with them is another important asset.
Service is another important asset that the Search Institute states is important. Being actively engaged in service, even at a young age, is important to the child. Service to individuals and within a community are keys to productivity in a child’s life. From an early age, they begin to think of others and are aware of their community and the needs of it.
While there are other keys to the Developmental Assets, these are some of the core values that are important to a child. The Developmental Assets have been broken down into things that should be taught during each part of a child and teens life, and are available for printout on their website based on the age group your child fits into. The 40 Developmental Assets start as young as preschool years, and go into late teens and early adulthood.
For more information and to printout a list for yourself, head to the Search Institute website at Search-Institute.org.
Search Institute Main Website: http://www.search-institute.org/
40 Developmental Assets Print Out Sheets by Age Group: http://www.search-institute.org/developmental-assets/lists