40 Developmental Assets
What are Developmental Assets?
The Developmental Assets are 40 common sense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults. Positive things that help young people grow up to be healthy, caring, and responsible. They are factors that can contribute to young people’s success, and the building blocks of development that serve as the foundation for healthy children and youth.
Research from Search Institute identifies 40 Developmental Assets that have a powerful, positive impact on young people. Children and teenagers who have high levels of these assets get involved in fewer risky behaviors and are much more likely to exhibit the positive values, such as leadership, good health, diversity, and success in school. The bad news is most young people do not have enough assets. About 59 percent of young people, ages 11–18 years, have 20 or fewer Developmental Assets, according to Search Institute Surveys. The good news is we can change this because we all have the power to build assets in young people’s lives.
Funded by Middlesex United Way
Understanding Developmental Assets:
The forty developmental assets are categorized into two groups: external and internal assets. External Assets are the positive experiences young people receive from the world around them, while internal assets identify those characteristics and behaviors that reflect positive internal growth and development of young people. The eight asset categories Search Institute has found crucial in helping young people grow up healthy include:
Click here to view the list of the 40 Developmental Asset
Support: Young people need to be surrounded by people who love, care for, appreciate, and accept them.
- Empowerment: Young people need to feel valued and valuable. This happens when youth feel safe and respected.
- Boundaries and Expectations: Young people need clear rules, consistent consequences for breaking rules, and encouragement to do their best.
- Constructive Use of Time: Young people need opportunities—outside of school—to learn and develop new skills and interests with other youth and adults.
- Commitment to Learning: Young people need a sense of the lasting importance of learning and a belief in their own abilities.
- Positive Values: Young people need to develop strong guiding values to help them make healthy life choices.
- Social Competencies: Young people need the skills to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions, and to cope with new situations.
- Positive Identity: Young people need to believe in their own self-worth and to feel they have control over the things that happen to them.
Here are some things YOU can do to build assets in your child:
Tips for Building Assets:
- Eat at least one meal together as a family everyday
- Keep all family members (including you) from watching too much television
- Ask your child for their opinion or advice
- Be able to listen: try not to judge too quickly when discussing issues important to your child
- Help your child spend time contributing to their communities. This could range from finding out about opportunities or simply figuring out ways to get them there
- Have regular family nights to do something fun together
- Visit libraries, zoos or museums-any place that gives a new experience
- Challenge your child to do their best
- Balance structure time with free playtime
- Set guidelines and boundaries
For more information on the 40 Developmental Assets please visit:
- Challenge yourself to eat one meal as a family every day. Young people need to make healthy choices in life to succeed and having a meal once a day as a family provides the opportunity for kids to communicate and get the support they need. The vast majority of parents who have frequent family dinners say they have an excellent or very good relationship with their teen.
- Youth are more likely to grow up healthy when they and their parents/guardians communicate positively. This will lead to youth being more willing to seek parents’/guardians’ advice and counsel. In your home and family: Make it easy for your child to spend time talking with you: Keep an extra stool or chair in the kitchen, den, home office, or workshop area. When you’re in the car together is a great time to chat, too. Also watch for hints: a child who hangs around usually wants to talk.
- All young people –no matter what their age-need support from caring and loving people. You can show the children in your family that you love and support them in many ways. When you hug them or say, “I love you,” the sentiment is obvious. Paying attention to them, listening to them, and taking an interest in what they’re doing are less noticeable ways of giving support. Spend one hour a week alone with each of your children. Take a walk, listen to music, cook together, or just hang out.