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The Power of #DevelopmentalAssets

Last week I had a staff training at my after school job and it was nice to see the Y focusing on the 40 developmental assets. My supervisor presented a pretty interesting video on how simple everyday positive experiences can help kids and teens develop values and skills to avoid risky behaviors and thrive in life.

That’s pretty much what the 40 developmental assets are. They represent everyday wisdom about positive experiences and characteristics for young people. Research has found that these assets are powerful influences on adolescent behavior—both protecting young people from many different risky behaviors, and promoting positive attitudes and actions.

There are many ways you can start building assets for the children and youth around you. Whether they’re in your family, school, or community, Search Institute has resources you can use to create a better world for kids.

The Developmental Assets are divided in different age groups and you can check them out HERE. You will see that there are external and internal assets. The external ones are those that focus on the child relationships with other children and adults in different daily scenarios. The internal assets focus on the child’s feelings about herself.

Knowing all the assets and making sure your child  is exposed to them can be a fantastic tool for any parent to make sure his child has what it takes to become a happy, healthy and successful adult.

For more on the 40 developmental assets visit the Search Institute website. Just click HERE. And also watch the video below on the power of the 40 Developmental Assets:


Is your kid reading yet?

If your child is at least 5 years of age or older you will probably be answering yes to the title question. No big deal. However, more often than not I hear moms asking each other this question in playgrounds everywhere. Here is the stereotype: She will have some fancy huge sunglasses on, a Starbucks cup on one hand and her smartphone on the other. Sounds familiar?

I rarely see dads doing this. When I go to the park with my 3 year old I try to focus on watching him, playing with him or if he’s safe and interacting with the other kids I may or may not chat with some other parents.

Chatting with other dads is fun. We talk about how cool and how hard it is to raise kids, how much fun we have with our children, then we talk about sports, work, economy, etc… but when talking with moms you may come across the type I mention above. She will use any opportunity she can to let you know her 2-year old is a math genius because he knows how to count to 20 since he was 18 months old. That without saying that she believes her 4 year old daughter will become the next Shakespeare because she’s already reading full 30-page books and writing her own name. Wow!

As a dad I normally like to focus on who my child is as a person and not on what he can do. Yes, like every parent I also think my kid is a smart little boy but more importantly I like to tell how caring he is, how gentle he’s towards other kids and that he says “hi” and “thank you” to everyone he meets.

If you choose to put your kids through the school system they will eventually read, write, learn math, science and play sports but moral values such as being considerate, respectful, honest, polite and humble must be taught at home.

If you are a dad and you happen to be listening to one of these moms bragging about their kids try to think about the qualities your child has as a person. Or you can also bring to the picture some of the flaws of your child. That will disarm the bragger immediately. Imagine the conversation:

YOU: They grow so fast uh? Soon they will be going to school.

Bragging Mom: “I knoooooow… But I know my princess will be amazing in school, OMG my daughter is only 3 and a half and she’s already reading, can you believe that?”

YOU: “Wow, that’s great for her. My son has just turned 3 and he’s super clumsy. He can’t even kick a soccer ball without tripping on himself. But he’s very gentle and loves to give hugs.”

Bragging Mom: “… … … Crazy weather, uh?”