Girl Power: Building Confidence
Building Confidence and Success
By Leigh Felesky
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The Search Institute, an independent nonprofit organization with a mission to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, has developed a framework of 40 Developmental Assets, which are positive experiences and personal qualities that young people need. Their research shows that the more assets a child—boy and girl—is likely to have, the less likely they are to engage in high-risk activities and the more likely they are to perform well in school. Asset categories as outlined by The Search Institute include:
- Support. Young people need to be surrounded by people who love, care for, appreciate and accept them.
- Empowerment. Young people need to feel valued and valuable. This happens when youth feel safe and respected.
- Boundaries and expectations. Young people need clear rules, consistent consequences for breaking rules and encouragement to do their best.
- Constructive use of time. Young people need opportunities—outside of school—to learn and develop new skills and interests with other youth and adults.
In addition, young people also need the following internal values, skills, and beliefs as defined by The Search Insitute:
- Commitment to learning. Young people need a sense of the lasting importance of learning and a belief in their own abilities.
- Positive values. Young people need to develop strong guiding values or principles to help them make healthy life choices.
- Social competencies Young people need the skills to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions, and to cope with new situations.
- Positive identity Young people need to believe in their own self worth and to feel that they have control over the things that happen to them.
According to the Search Institute, most young Americans experience fewer than half of these assets. Looking for ways to make sure you’re building yours? Good news—it might be easier than you think. Suggestions to encourage assets include, “Notice them [your children], ask them about themselves, cheer their accomplishments, go places together, expect their best, not perfection, hug them, play outside.” Get more ideas, action strategies and downloads at The Search Institute.