Ideas for Parents
Easy Ways to Build Assets for and with Your Child
Think back to your childhood. Was there one adult your really enjoyed talking with? Maybe it was a grandparent, a club leader, an aunt, a coach, a neighbor, and older cousin, someone in your congregation, or your piano teacher. This person helped you sort through growing up issues. Even if you can’t recall specific conversations, you will remember the warm feelings brought by talking with that person.
Young people need parents to talk to, but they also need other adults to bounce ideas off, to ask questions of, to laugh with, to help sort through sticky situations. Researchers have discovered that young people who have caring adults to talk with are:
Youth are more likely to grow up healthy when they receive support from three or more nonparent adults. 45% of youth surveyed by the Search Institute have this asset in their lives.
With your child, identify all the adults who regularly interact with him or her. Include teachers, grandparents, club leaders, coaches, cooks, bus drivers, aunts, uncles, employers, school administrators, custodians, neighbors, and other extended family. Jot a short note to each one, telling them how much your appreciate their care, there dedication, and there interest in your child.
Three ways to encourage your child to build relationships with other caring adults:
1) Help your child find an adult that you both trust who shares a similar hobby or interest with your child.
2) Play games with other families where teams consist of one family paired with children from another family.
3) Use letter, phone calls, and email to keep relationships strong with caring adults who are far away.
Children can link up with other adults through programs and opportunities such as these:
ü Religious programs
ü Music lessons
ü Sports leagues
ü Community recreation
ü Family reunions and gatherings
ü Parents’ friends
ü Youth groups and programs
ü Community bands, orchestras, and choirs
Ask your child which adult he or she most enjoys being with and why. Tell them about a significant adult from your childhood. Explain what you have gained from that relationship.
Questions to discuss with your child:
Ø Which adults outside of our family would you like to get to know better? Why?
Ø If you had a tough question that you didn’t want to discuss with me, whom would you go to?
Ø How can we show our appreciation to the significant adults in your life?
“I have always believed that I could help change the world because I have been lucky to have adults around me who did – in small and large ways.” – Marian Wright Edelman, author and president of Children’s Defense Fund