Asset Corner #111

Asset Corner #111 SHOW KIDS YOU CARE: TELL THEM STORIES IN WHICH THEY ARE THE HERO. March’s Asset Category:  Social Competencies Learning social skills is a lot like learning to play the piano in that you need to learn some basic competencies and you need someone to teach you those skills. You need time to practice, guidance as you gain experience, and feedback along the way. Social competencies are the skills and life perspectives young people need to develop into healthy, competent adults. These skills are important daily, but they’re even more crucial when young people encounter the tough times in life. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset 33: Interpersonal Competence

Learning to walk in other people’s shoes
Most young people know how to make friends. They notice when something bad happens to a friend, and when someone is acting differently. Empathy—one of the most important social and emotional skills—doesn’t come naturally to everyone. In fact, learning to walk in another’s shoes is tricky for many adults. After all, some people are easier to read and understand than others. Young people who strive to understand their own needs and feelings and know how to appropriately express them are more likely to respect the needs and feelings of others.

Here are the facts
Research shows that young people who have empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills are more likely to grow up healthy and avoid risky behaviors, such as violence and alcohol and other drug use. About 45 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say they have empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. Family is the cornerstone of most young people’s lives, but everyone needs friends, too.

Tips for building this asset
Interpersonal competence involves a young person’s ability to make friends and develop lasting relationships, as well as emotional aptitude. That’s the really tricky part. Parents and other caring adults can help young people learn how to monitor their own expressions of feelings, read other people’s reactions and feelings (even if they aren’t expressed in words), and adjust social interactions based on the situation. Building interpersonal competence is a lifelong process, so be patient. Every relationship in a young person’s life is a chance to grow and learn.

Also try this
In your home and family:
Welcome your child’s friends into your home. Spend time talking with them and getting to know them.
In your neighborhood and community: Get to know your neighbors—adults and kids—by hosting a dinner party, potluck, or holiday gathering. Be sure to include young people in community social events as much as possible.
In your school or youth program: When new people join your class or program midyear, assign a young person to show the new person around, introduce him or her to people, and adjust to the new environment. This will help the new person feel more comfortable making friends. The young person in the buddy role will also develop greater interpersonal competence!

Tangible Tips For Connecting w/Kids…Try incorporating one of these to begin building relationships & impacting lives:
Text a message of encouragement or a simple “Good Morning! I hope you have a wonderful day!” and do it often. If you don’t know how to send texts, ask a teen to teach you how.
>> Offer to tutor a youth through community groups & library programs


Visit or for more information about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them. Or go here  for great asset-based parenting tips, tricks, activities and ideas.

Gene Lovasy

Community Volunteer/Activist

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 10:23 AM, 03.01.2019