Ideas for Parents

Easy Ways to Build Assets for and with Your Child

 

Everyone Provides the Strength of Support

 

Who are the people that really support you in life? These people are important champions. They cheer us on when things go well. They stick with us when life throws us a curve ball. They listen. They ask questions. They smile. They hug. They’re people we like to be around. What kind of a champion are you for your child? Are you a fair-weather supporter? A rain-or-shine supporter? What’s your unique way of supporting and loving your child?

Your love and support for your child are critical. But you can’t go it alone. You need others. Your child needs others. How supported and cared for does your child feel by teachers, neighbors, coaches, grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents of their friends, youth workers, and mentors? These other key adults are important players in helping your child jump over hurdles in life. In fact, the more supportive adults that your child has, the better. By nurturing and loving all the children in our communities, we help them grow to be loving, caring people themselves.

 

Fast Facts

ü      The more love, support, caring, and adult contacts a child has, the more likely he or she is to grow up healthy.

ü      The Minnesota Family Strength Research Project Reports that African American Parents Say to the following helps build support:

1.      Praying together, eating, going out

2.      Eating meals (with teens), it’s a way to get out from teens what they might not tell you.

 

6 Key Areas of Support

Search Institute researchers have identified six specific assets in the support category that are crucial for helping young people grow up healthy. Check the areas of strength in your child’s life:

  1. Family Support-Family provides high levels of love and support.
  2. Positive Family Communication – You and your child communicate positively, and your child is willing to seek you out for advice and counsel.
  3. Other Adult Relationships – Your child receives support from three or more non-parents.
  4. Caring Neighborhood – Your child experiences caring neighbors.
  5. Caring School Climate – School provides a caring, encouraging environment for your child.
  6. Parent Involvement in Schooling – You are actively involved in helping your child succeed in school.

Have each family member name three ways the family supports him or her.

 

Support Through the Years

 

Age     Ways to Love and Support Your Child

0-1       Hold your baby and look at him or her during feedings.

            Respond to your baby’s needs.

            Rock your baby often.

2-3             Cheer your child on as he or she masters new skills.

Touch your child often. Hug. Cuddle.

Stay positive when setting limits.

4-5             When you interact with your child, get down to their eye level.

Share your child’s excitement about their interests.

Find other caring adults to participate regularly in your child’s life.

6–10   Answer your child’s questions. If you don’t know the answer, say so and work together 

to find it.

When you and your child disagree, point out that you still love them.

Be silly with your child.

11-15     Accept the identity that your child is forming.

Affirm independence and interdependence.

At least sometimes, be available to listen.

16-18     Continue to show affection for your teenager.

Let your teen overhear you complimenting them to someone else.

Seek your teen’s opinion or advice on a big decision.

 

Quick Tip

A good way to love your child is to be accessible.

 

Support for Parents

Parents need support too. Research shows that parents need the help of immediate and extended family, friends, and communities. So asking for help or advice is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it provides good ideas, encouragement, and reinforcement- all of which are needed to face the challenges of parenting that will come along the way.

 

Final Word

“It isn’t walls and furniture that make a home. It’s the family.” –Natalie Savage Carlson