40 Assets for Youth – External Assets

In the previous blog I wrote about the 40 Developmental Assets for Youth and explained a bit about how they were developed, researched, and organized.  In that writing, I told that the assets appear in two categories, External Assets, and Internal Assets with four broad categories in each.  I want to discuss the External Assets which include the general categories of Support, Empowerment, Boundaries & Expectations, and Constructive Use of Time.

Support refers to the ways that children feel loved, affirmed and accepted.  In the perfect world, this happens quickly and naturally, but we all know that in reality, it can be much different.  This asset speaks to the acknowledgment that kids receive in a variety of settings, including family and extended family.

Empowerment speaks to feeling safe and valued.  This focus’ on the community perceptions of youth and the opportunities that are available to them.  It includes community values, youth as resources, service to others, and safety.

Boundaries & Expectations are the rules, standards, and norms in families, schools, neighborhoods, and communities that help to guide youth and their choices in behavior and relationships.  This category includes having healthy role models from adults as the kids begin to “try on” adult roles themselves.  As kids grow into adolescence, the boundaries become shared between the adults and themselves.  This can include parents, school, counselors, and other adults that work with them.  It concludes with high expectations for behavior, including grades and attendance.  So often, I feel that parents do not set high standards here and help to stick with them over the long term.

Constructive Use of Time takes a look at what the communities provide for after-school opportunities for kids.  Constructive Use of Time includes private centers, religious centers, for-profit centers, structured activities at the school, anything that helps them develop positive growth and make a contribution to the other assets.

In the third blog of this series, I will take a look at the Internal Assets and discuss the broad categories of each of them.

I hope you find this resource useful.  For more information, I encourage you to head over to www.search-institute.org for more details.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich