“Take it Personally”

I recently attended a parenting class- “Take it Personally”, offered by Project Cornerstone- which is a community initiative of YMCA Silicon Valley, committed to helping all children and teens in Silicon Valley feel valued, respected and known.

This class highlighted the fact that “It takes a village to raise a whole child”. We all have so much to offer young people in our community, whether you are a parent, neighbor, a grandparent, an empty nester, single adult, senior citizen or another child or teen.

Therefore, we have to Take it Personally!!

What can we do?

We can help build “Developmental Assets” - which are building blocks for children and teen’s successful growth and development. The Search Institute has identified 41 developmental assets through extensive research on children and youth. These developmental assets represent positive experiences, opportunities, and relationships that young people need from the time they are born until they are adults. These assets are built overtime with multiple interactions and experiences with caring adults.

What are the benefits of developing these assets? Assets promote succeeding in school, helping others, valuing diversity, maintaining good health, exhibiting leadership, resisting danger, delaying gratification and overcoming adversity.

What exactly are these developmental assets? They have been divided into two groups: External and Internal Assets We will focus on the 20 External assets in this blog and internal assets in the next one.

What are the External Assets and how can they be developed? 1) Support- from -

1) Family

2) positive family communication – by active listening and sharing during dinner “roses and thorns of each one’s day”.

3) Other Adult relationships- work on developing relationships with 3 or more non- parent adults- by thinking of people who make a big difference in the lives of children and having children send them each a thank you note.

4) Caring Neighborhood- by knowing the names of children who live around you and introduce yourself to one new family in your neighborhood.

5) Caring School Climate and

6) Parental involvement in Schooling- By supporting the values and rules taught at your child’s school or volunteering at school.

2) Empowerment

7) Community values youth- by listening to youth, asking them for opinions, including them in decisions, learning about music, books and activities they like and celebrate their accomplishments.

8) Youth as resources- by giving them meaningful roles in community Events. 9) Service to others- by finding volunteering or service opportunities. 10)Safety- making sure youth feel safe at home, in neighborhood and school by learning the reasons for their feelings- worries and fears and take them seriously.

3) Boundaries and Expectations

11) Family Boundaries- by following four C’s of boundaries as follows: C- Be Clear about what you expect C- Be Concise- “The shorter the explanation better” C- Be Creative “cleverly stated boundaries C- Be Consistent

12) School Boundaries- School provides clear rules and consequences. 13) Neighborhood Boundaries- Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring youth’s behavior.

14) Adult Role Models- Parents and other role models follow boundaries and expectations and show positive and responsible behavior.

15) Positive peer influence- by choosing friends who model responsible behavior.

16) High Expectations: Both parents and teachers encourage the youth to do well.

4) Constructive Use of time

17) Creative Activities- by having them participate in 3 or more hours per week in music, theater or arts, but making sure that you are keeping balance between outside activities and family time.

18) Youth Programs-by making sure the child is spending 3 hours per week in sports, clubs or organizations at school or community. 19) Religious Community- Research shows that young People involved in a faith community are more likely to Grow up healthy than who are not involved.

20) Time at Home- Turn of technology and spend meaning - full, enjoyable time together as family on a regular basis. Open up opportunities to talk to each other and share your dreams and hopes. Also, allow children and Teens to be with their friends 2 or fewer times per week.


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