Building the Empowerment Assets

Empowerment—Young people need to feel valued and valuable. This happens when youth feel safe and respected.

As a parent, you are already one of your child’s key asset builders. Here are tips on how you can take your parenting to the next level by intentionally focusing on the four Empowerment Assets: Community Values Youth, Youth as Resources, Service to Others, and Safety.

Tips for . . .

  • all parents
    • Create a loving, violence-free, safe home environment.
    • Include your children in family decisions, such as what to serve for meals, who does which chores, family getaways, and family fun nights.
    • Role model service to others. Get your family involved in family volunteering projects at your local YMCA, your child’s school (or preschool), or your congregation.
    • Show through your words and actions that you value all young people, not just your own kids.
    • parents with children ages birth to 5
    • Let little kids do the stuff they do: dump out containers or get undressed because they want to. Find safe ways for them to be little kids.
    • Kids are proud of what they can do, but they don’t always need to hear praise. When they say, “Watch me!” look and be happy with them. Avoid giving feedback or an “evaluation” of how well they’ve done every time they want you to watch.
    • parents with children ages 6 to 9
    • Set aside time during the day for children to choose their own activities.
    • Let children have turns making decisions about how to help others, such as baking cookies for a sick friend or drawing pictures to send to a grandparent.
    • parents with children ages 10 to 15
    • Have regular family meetings to plan, solve problems, and encourage each other. Rotate who leads the meetings.
    • Don’t tolerate hurtful words or actions in your home.
    • Empower your children to express themselves in ways that get them excited, such as drawing manga characters or telling funny stories about what happened at school.
    • parents with children ages 16 to 18
    • Invite someone from a different background over for a snack (or a meal). Get to know them—and let them get to know you and your teenagers.
    • Get involved in a parent-teacher organization at your teens’ school.
  • Help your teens get to know as many of the adults, other teens, and younger children in your neighborhood as possible. Ask them to look out for younger kids and neighbors who might be somewhat vulnerable (such as the elderly or someone in poor health).

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