What are developmental assets?
Developmental assets are factors that can help youth throughout childhood and adolescence. These assets are an important part of healthy development, the more assets a child has, the more likely youth will make positive choices, excel in school, and stay away from drugs and alcohol.
- Internal Assets: Internal assets exist within each youth, including strengths, and values. These assets influence the choices and decisions a young person makes.
- External Assets: External assets are experiences that surround. Positive developmental experiences include support, empowerment, setting boundaries and expectations.
To learn more about how parents can strengthen their relationship with their children and therefore increase their number of assets, visit the Search Institute’s website Keep Connected.
Types of Assets
|Support||Empowerment||Boundaries and Expectations||Constructive Use of Time||Commitment to Learning||Positive Values||Social Competencies|
|High levels of love and support from family||Youth feel valued in the community||Family sets clear rules and consequences and monitor youth||Youth spends time practicing music, theater, or arts||Youth are motivated to do well in school and actively engaged in learning||Youth value helping others, promoting equality, and reducing hunger and poverty||Youth plan ahead and make choices|
|Youth and parents have strong communication||Youth have meaningful roles in the community||School has clear rules and consequences||Youth spend time in sports, clubs, or organizations||Youth do at least one hour of homework every day||Youth stand up for his or her beliefs||Youth have empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills|
|Youth has support from three or more adults that are not parents||Youth regularly serve the community||Neighbors are responsible for monitoring youth’s behavior||Youth spend time in religious institutions||Youth cares about his or her school||Youth tell the truth, even when it is difficult||Youth has knowledge of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds|
|School is an encouraging environment and parents are engaged in school success||Youth feel safe at home, school and in their neighborhood||Parents and other adults and positive, responsible role models||Youth is not often “out with friends with nothing special to do”||Youth reads for pleasure at least three hours per week||Youth accept and take personal responsibility||Youth can resist peer pressure and dangerous situations|
|Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school||Youth’s friends exhibit responsible behavior||Youth do NOT believe it is important to use alcohol or other drugs||Youth can resolve conflict without violence|
|Young person is willing to seek parent(s) advice and counsel||Family and teachers encourage youth to do well||Youth report high self esteem and “my life has a purpose”|
|Young person experiences caring neighbors||Youth feel he or she has control over “things that happen to me”|
Building Assets in YouthEveryone in the community can help to build developmental assets in youth! Here's some examples of how! (Adapted from the Search Institute, Thresher Square West, 700 South Third Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415).
|Share a meal with youth and learn more about each other||Develop policies for parents to be active in their child’s life||Make a policy to provide a caring environment for all students||Make asset development a priority|
|Limit TV watching||Create opportunities for employees to build relationships with youth by mentoring, volunteering, and internships||Develop mentoring opportunities between teens and elementary students||Partner with organizations to create safe places for youth to “hang out” and have opportunities|
|Read together||Provide resources to youth development programs||Promote efforts to promote healthy lifestyles||Strengthen ordinances to reduce or eliminate underage access to alcohol and tobacco|
|Serve the community together||Include service learning, values development, relationship building and other asset-building opportunities into curriculum||Support neighborhood-building initiatives|
|Welcome child’s friends into the home||Increase parent involvement in schools|