Building the Positive Identity Assets

Positive Identity—Young people need a sense of their self-worth, power, purpose, and promise.

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 Positive Identity Assets: Personal Power, Self-Esteem, Sense of Purpose, and Positive View of Personal Future.

Tips for . . .

  • all parents
    • Your children learn from what they see as you model confidence in your own personal future and express confidence in theirs.
    • Talk with your kids about their hopes and dreams for the future and how to make them come true.
    • Expose your kids to famous people whose stories embody the values and principles you want your kids to develop. Through books, movies, and art, your kids can learn what drove these individuals to be who they are and make the contributions that they did.
    • Building all the assets, particularly support, safety, and personal power, will help build your children’s self-esteem.
    • parents with children ages birth to 5
    • Let children do things their own way sometimes, even if it doesn’t make sense to you. If they enjoy looking at books upside down and backward, or want to wash and dry each dish one at a time, don’t interfere.
    • Do things around your home that help facilitate your kids’ independence and competences. Have a step stool handy, for example, so small children can wash and dry their own hands and turn lights off and on. Simple steps for you can make a big difference for them.
    • parents with children ages 6 to 9
    • Help your kids start a journal or “All About Me” book. In a blank notebook or scrapbook, ask children to write about their families, their favorite school subject, their proudest moments, and so on. If they don’t like to write, have them draw or doodle their story.
    • Collect inspiring quotations. Hang them on bathroom mirrors, doors, refrigerators, and hallway walls. Have children collect and post their favorites, too.
    • parents with children ages 10 to 15
    • Help your children understand the difference(s) between what we can and can’t control. For example, we can control what we say and do; we can’t control what other people say and do.
    • Eliminate pessimistic phrases from your family vocabulary. Replace “It won’t work” with “Why not try it?” Instead of “You can’t do that by yourself,” try “I can help you do that, if you’d like.”
    • parents with children ages 16 to 18
    • Encourage family members to point out “victim mentality” comments and “personal power” comments when family members tell about their day. Help your teenagers use “I” messages to take ownership of what happened. Encourage them to use this format: “When you do _______, it makes me feel _______, and so I’d like you to ______.” This builds personal power and also gives teenagers integrity and a sense of responsibility.
  • Encourage teens to go deeper with the activities and subjects that really get them excited. Keep asking, “What else can you do?”

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