Everyone in the community plays an important role in building our young people's assets, but no one has a more profound and positive impact on a child's performance than their family. Parents have a tremendous potential for promoting the strengths of our students and motivating them to raise the expectations. It creates a hopeful and positive framework in establishing a successful future.
Traditionally we think a lot about what we don't want our youth to do or become. It is an even more important task to have a clear idea of what we want them to be doing with their time and talents. What picture do you carry of your child and your child's future and what is their vision for themselves.
Having an effective answer to those questions is paramount. A battle is encountered by first planning a strategy and a house is not built without a blueprint; likewise, it is important for you and your child to have a plan. Battles are not always successful and young people are not shaped into adults with materials, but by influence. What parents do or do not do has a more significant impact than any other person in their life.
There are numerous developmental assets that enable our youth to live strong and healthy lives. It is important for parents to nurture these assets. There are both internal and external assets. External assets come from outside influences. It is important for these assets to provide support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations that help a student shape constructive use of their time.
When parents spend time with their teen, provide unconditional reinforcement, establish appropriate boundaries and enforce them they help with child to learn self-discipline and delayed gratification. An investment of time and deliberate involvement in their school experiences develops their personal growth.
Internal assets, such as attitude, commitment, and values come from within and provide the strength that enables our students to thrive. Parents and other adults can not dictate or force these attributes, but can nourish their development by modeling them and providing opportunities to express a positive identity. These attributes are not automatic, but they can be intentionally nourished.
Nourishing these assets has a profound impact on protecting our young people from an extensive range of risk behaviors. The more assets our teens have the less likely they are to make destructive choices and get involved in destructive behavior.
Without these assets our young people do not have the foundation needed to build healthy and constructive lives. Assets are even more important for teens that have experienced deficits such as negative peer pressure, stress, abuse or having adults in their lives that have not developed their own assets.