Asset Corner #118

October’s Asset Category:  SUPPORT.  Supportive, healthy relationships make a big difference

Many studies over the years confirm that caring, supportive relationships with adults are critical for raising young people who are healthy and resilient. Support means freely giving young people love, affirmation, and acceptance; surrounding young people with caring families, guardians, friends, teachers, neighbors, and other adults; and helping young people know they belong, are not alone, and are both loved and lovable. Recognizing its importance, Search Institute has focused recent research on identifying a framework of DEVELOPMENTAL RELATIONSHIPS. It identifies five relationship strategies that help kids feel motivated and do their best. These include Express Care, Challenge Growth, Provide Support, Share Power and Expand Possibilities. More information can be found at

This column’s focus will be on…..Asset #3 – Other Adult Relationships

When times get tough, kids need adults they can trust
Who did you turn to for advice, comfort, and understanding when you were young? Was there an adult you trusted and enjoyed talking with? If you had an adult outside your family who was there for you during tough times and good times, you probably understand how important a relationship like that is for a young person. Now you can be that adult friend. Whether you’re a neighbor, teacher, tutor, coach, aunt, older cousin, or coffee shop worker—you can be a good friend to a young person. Young people want adults besides their parents to count on. Problem is, we live in a society that doesn’t always encourage adults and youth to spend time together. But the effort is worthwhile.

Here are the facts
Research shows that young people who have three or more caring adults (besides parents or guardians) who support them feel happier and more hopeful, do better in school, and are less likely to rely on drinking, smoking, or drugs to feel good or fit in. About 43 percent of young people, ages 11–18, have three or more nonparent adults in their lives, according to Search Institute surveys. Caring adults are important to the development of young people, especially if those adults are open to discussing tough questions and know how to listen without judging.

Tips for building this asset
Build relationships. Connect with young people outside your own family and make an effort to interact regularly. They need caring adults to bounce ideas off, ask questions of, laugh with, and help sort through sticky situations. If you’re a parent, encourage other caring adults to develop a friendship with your children.

Also try this
In your home and family:
Think about your child’s strengths, talents, and interests. Do you know any adults who share those same qualities? Invite one of them to get to know your child better by coming to a school activity or getting together for dessert or a movie.
In your neighborhood and community: Consider becoming a mentor to one or more young people in your community.
In your school or youth program: Tell young people about an adult who supported you when you were young. Ask them to think about someone they counted on during a tough time. Have the young people pair up and brainstorm ways they could initiate more friendships with other caring adults and what they’d want to get from these relationships.

Visit, 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/Youth Advocate

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 7:57 AM, 10.03.2019