A "SPARK" is what a person is really passionate about doing, and activity that unleashes their energy and joy! A spark can allow a child to express their personality and even make a contribution to the world. Sparks matter because when a young person knows their spark, and has an adult who supports it, they are more likely to grow up great!
One way to build connections with your child is to share power. What does this mean and how can you do that?
Treat Me with Respect and Give Me a Say
At its heart, “sharing power” highlights the ways we influence, learn from, and work with each other through our relationships. How we share power with our children constantly shifts as kids grow up. What’s exciting is that we discover new things about ourselves and each other when we share power and learn from each other (Search Institute). For simple tips, click below.
Connect me with people and places that broaden my world
“Expand possibilities” focuses on helping children & youth learn and grow by connecting them with other people, ideas, experiences, and places. This helps them become their best selves (Search Institute). For simple tips, click below.
You Matter to Me
Expressing care is the foundation of family relationships. SHOWING you care helps your child grow up great. This section invites you to explore how your family can express care to each other. Click below for more:
Push Me to Keep Getting Better
Many people look back on times they’ve been challenged to grow as being some of their best experiences and best relationships! But how we challenge each other to grow really matters. Some ways we push each other can backfire. They make us want to do less, not more. This section guides you to challenge growth the right way in your family (Search Institute). For simple tips, click below.
Help Me Complete Tasks and Achieve Goals
An important part of the parent child relationship is to provide support. We do this by helping each other navigate through difficult situations, building each other’s confidence, advocating for each other, and setting boundaries for each other (Search Institute).
Being a parent or guardian can be very hard work—no surprise there, right? Most parents and guardians have things they love about their role as well as problems with their kids that they have to deal with. What might be surprising, though, is that one of the best ways to deal with problems is to focus on positives. Research shows that a more effective approach to raising healthy, competent kids is to concentrate on building Developmental Assets. These assets form the foundation young people need to make healthy choices and to succeed in life. The more assets your kids have, the stronger this foundation will be.
There are probably lots of asset-building things you already do for your children—even if you don’t call them that.
Here are some ways to be intentional about asset building:
➤ Post the list of 40 Developmental Assets on your refrigerator door. Each day, do at least one asset-building thing for each family member.
➤ Connect with other parents who are interested in asset building. Form relationships in your neighborhood, on the job, through a congregation, or through a parent-education organization.
➤ Regularly do things with your child, including projects around the house, recreational activities, and service projects. Take turns planning activities to do together as a family.
➤ Eat at least one meal together as a family every day
➤ Negotiate family rules and consequences for breaking those rules.
➤ Talk about your values and priorities, and live in a way that is consistent with them.
➤ Give your children lots of support and approval while also challenging them to take responsibility and gain independence.
➤ Learn as much as you can about what your kids need at their current ages.
➤ Recognize that children need more than just financial support. They also need emotional and intellectual support. Balance family time with other priorities like work, recreation, and hobbies.
➤ Keep all family members (including you) from watching too much television. Find other interesting and meaningful activities for your children to do—some with you, some with their friends, some by themselves.
➤ Don’t wait for problems to arise before talking with your children’s teachers. Keep in regular contact with them about how your children are doing and what you can do to help your children learn.
➤ Think of teenagers as adults in training. Teach them something practical, such as how to change a tire on the car, prepare a meal, or create a monthly budget.
➤ Be aware of differences in how you relate to your children. Are you more comfortable with one gender? If so, why? What impact does that have in your family?
➤ Talk to your children about the 40 Developmental Assets. Ask them for suggestions of ways to strengthen their assets.
➤ Do inter-generational activities with extended family and with other neighborhood adults and families.
➤ Be an asset builder for other young people in your life.
➤ Remember that you are not alone. Other asset builders in your children’s lives include coaches, child-care providers, faith-based education teachers, club leaders, and neighbors. Work with these people to give kids consistent messages about boundaries and values.
➤ Get to know your children’s friends, and the parents of their friends. Talk to them about Developmental Assets.