Archive for the ‘SOCIAL COMPETENCIES’ Category

Planning and Decision Making

Decisions, decisions . . .

Wear a blue shirt or a red shirt? Try to fit in or create your own style? Go out with so-and-so or find a way to say “No thanks”? Watch some TV or do homework first? Young people make a lot of decisions every day. Some are easy, others difficult, and still others just plain irritating. But all of these decisions are good practice for their future as they learn how to take more control of their lives. Best of all, when young people start connecting the choices they make today with their futures (goals, dreams, ideas for jobs), the better they’ll get at actually planning for what they want. Planning and Decision Making is Asset 32 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people who learn to make good decisions and plan ahead do better in school, are less likely to engage in drinking, smoking, or using other drugs, and are better able to accomplish more of what they want. Only about 29 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say they know how to plan ahead and make choices, according to Search Institute surveys. Show young people different strategies to effectively plan ahead and make healthy decisions.

Tips for building this asset

Encourage young people to keep a daily “to do” list and check off items as they complete the tasks. Allow room for mistakes, but avoid rescuing them from the consequences. Celebrate progress and accomplishments in planning and decision making.

Also try this

In your home and family: Talk with your child about how you make decisions. Have you changed your approach over time? Invite your child to help with making a decision or plan a family event.

In your neighborhood and community: Invite local young people to help plan and organize a neighborhood party or potluck.

In your school or youth program: On the board or using newsprint, make two columns. Write Decision above one column, Future above the other. Have each young person list a decision he or she needs to make, then rank how connected (1 = low, 5 = high) it is to a future goal or plan (grades, college, jobs). Discuss.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

Cultural Competence

Teach young people to appreciate differences

Although most people gravitate toward people who are similar to themselves, it’s important to expose young people to a variety of cultures and people. People from different cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds can learn many things from one another. Being culturally competent doesn’t mean that you have to like others who are different from you, but rather be able to treat one another with respect, tolerance, and equality. It means making an effort to learn about and understand people of other cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. Cultural Competence is Asset 34 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people who have knowledge of and feel comfortable with people of different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds feel good about themselves, are less lonely, can solve problems well, and do better in school. About 43 percent of young people, ages 11–18, report having knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, according to Search Institute surveys. Cultural competence builds strong, capable, and interesting young people.

Tips for building this asset

Think about your family, ethnic background, or cultural heritage and what makes you proud and gives you comfort. Then explore other cultures’ or countries’ people, art, sayings, food, songs and traditions. Help young people learn about the backgrounds of others and create a more understanding world by appreciating differences.

Also try this

In your home and family: Explain to your child how and why her or his name was chosen. Talk about any connections the name has with your family’s roots and culture—old or new.

In your neighborhood and community: Get to know people who are from a different country or have a different cultural heritage from you. Ask them about their family traditions, celebrations, and other unique aspects of their backgrounds.

In your school or youth program: Seated in a circle, ask students or participants to talk about their ethnic or family backgrounds and their favorite celebrations, foods, music, and traditions. Then have them complete this sentence: “If I could share one thing about my cultural heritage, my gift to you would be . . .”

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

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. Interpersonal Competence is Asset 33 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

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!

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

Peaceful Conflict Resolution

Working it Out

Whether it’s a spat between sisters over who should take out the trash or an argument between nations over natural resources, disagreements are a part of being human. But no matter how small or large, every dispute can be resolved peacefully if both sides are willing to listen and compromise. Encourage young people to talk it out—and truly listen to one another. Speaking and listening respectfully are key. Peaceful Conflict Resolution is Asset 36 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people who resolve conflicts peacefully do better in school, have higher self-esteem, and are less likely to use alcohol and other substances. About 40 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say they seek to resolve conflicts nonviolently, according to Search Institute surveys. It’s normal for anyone to feel mad every now and then, but learning to keep cool helps people express anger more effectively.

Tips for building this asset

When you notice two young people arguing, ask them to stop and take a deep breath. Once they’re calmer, ask them to think about why they are mad before they start talking. Being calm helps to focus on the problem at hand and not on attacking the other person. Suggest they talk about problems before the problems get too big. This can help keep everyone from blowing things out of proportion.

Also try this

In your home and family: Talk with your child about a conflict you had as a young person. Discuss how you handled the situation then and how you might approach it now.

In your neighborhood and community: Model peaceful conflict resolution in your own life. Remember, when you argue in public, whether it’s in a grocery store or on a bus, there’s a good chance young people are listening. What do you want them to hear?

In your school or youth program: When a conflict arises between two young people in your school or program, help them through the following steps: Have each person 1. State what he or she wants without blaming others; 2. Listen and try to understand each other; 3. Stay focused on the conflict at hand—don’t bring up other conflicts; 4. Emphasize creative problem-solving and new solutions; and 5. Negotiate a win-win result.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

Resistance Skills

The art of resistance and reasoning

Learning resistance is one of the most important social skills to develop. This skill gives young people the confidence to say “no” to people or situations that make them uncomfortable. Learning to assert themselves also helps young people make their voices heard and express opinions. With these skills in hand young people make appropriate decisions and stand firm in what they believe. Resistance Skills is Asset 35 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people who can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and focus on positive attitudes. About 41 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say they can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations, according to Search Institute surveys. Speaking up for themselves takes practice, but with your help, young people can learn to take a stand.

Tips for building this asset

Teach young people resistance skills, but also teach them the values that support why they would take a stand on an issue. Having many conversations with a teenager about drug use, sex, safety, and personal boundaries increases the chance he or she will make a safe choice when, for example, asked to ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking.

Also try this

In your home and family: Model and role-play resistance skills, specifying what to say or not say. Talk with your child about what was easy and what was difficult. Focus not only on how to resist, but also on what to say “yes” to.

In your neighborhood and community: Offer a safety net to the young people you know. Let them know they can call you if they feel pressured or tempted to do something unsafe or unhealthy.

In your school or youth program: Learn about people in the world who stood up for their values and resisted what everyone else was doing (such as Rosa Parks and Gandhi). Discuss why they were able to do so.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.