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Young people need to be surrounded by people who love, appreciate, and accept them. They need to spend time in places where people care about them. As a parent you are one of the child’s key asset builders and the most important.
You can take your parenting to the next level by focusing on six key Support Assets:
Family Support, Positive Family Communication, Other Adult Relationships, Caring Neighborhood, Caring School Climate, and Parent Involvement in Schooling.
Family life provides a high level of love and support. As parents, you have a direct role in supporting your children and facilitating positive family communication. Get to know your children’s friends and make your home welcoming so children will want to come to your home.
Parent involvement in school can help the student learn. It also affects teacher attitudes toward your children, thereby creating a more caring school climate. The children are more motivated to do well in class, actively engaged in learning, and care more about their school. Read all school papers, notes, and printed announcements that are sent home and respond as soon as possible. Try to attend all school conferences. Check out the school web site often. Stay involved with the schools through middle and high school, a time when most parents want to pull back.
Your connection to and interaction with other adults and the children in the neighborhood affects your children’s experience in a caring neighborhood. Your children should perceive from a caring neighborhood that the adults value the youth of the community.
Your choice about adults with whom you connect your children, such as friends, teachers, ministers, youth workers, affects your children’s experience of positive relationships with other adults. Ideally, your children should receive support from three non-parent adults.
Talking (communication) with your children is a very important positive support asset. Be willing to talk during times that are comfortable for your children, such as while driving, riding, or on a walk. Sometimes, not having to make direct eye contact can make the conversation flow better. Express interest in the things your children are involved in; clubs, sports, activities, school, etc. Mealtime is an excellent time for talking. You may want to consider having each person to take a turn answering or asking a question of the other family members.
When you and your child disagree, be respectful and let him or her know it is alright for people in families to have different opinions. Although you may disagree on a particular point, reassure the child that you still care and you only have his or her best interest at heart. Children feel supported when they know you value their opinion and will help create a sense of self-esteem.
Not all children want their parents to stop being affectionate with them when they become teenagers. Ask your children what is comfortable for them and then support them in ways they appreciate.
Spending time and talking with your children each week will help you identify the passions and interests that excite them, such as playing a musical instrument or participating in a sport.
Asset building has the power to influence the choices your children make during the critical adolescent years, give them a sense of purpose, self-esteem, and help them become caring and responsible adults.
If you need more information on Support Assets, contact Tonda Luckett or Pat Maupin at The Path Coalition, 348-5947.