Developmental assets are proven ways to help protect kids from engaging in risky behavior, such as drug use. Anyone can become an asset builder, and the more assets teens develop, the better choices they make.

For families, simple supportive gestures help with development — hugs, spending time together, creating rituals like game night and giving kids privacy. Staying involved in your child’s school also helps buffer against poor choices. Another important aspect is clear boundaries and expectations, including monitoring activities. Positive role modeling also is critically important in asset building.

In our community, we can all help with basic youth empowerment actions like simply saying hello to teen employees at grocery stores, fast food franchises and other places of employment. These small steps help show our kids the community values them. Neighbors also can help by making kids feel welcome. Organize activities such as pick-up basketball if you have time. Take a few minutes to meet your neighborhood kids if you haven’t.

Other adults with relationships with teens also can do a few things to help kids feel valued. Spend time together when possible, try to be a good role model, and encourage kids to do well. And when a kid does something generous, take time to extend praise.

More information on these assets is available at searchinstitute.org.

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