Social Competencies is the third of the four internal asset categories and numbers 32 – 36 of the 40 Developmental Assets!
Planning & Decision Making: Show young people different strategies to effectively plan ahead and make healthy decisions. Talk with your child about how you make decisions. Have you changed your approach over time? Invite your child to help with making a decision or plan a family event.
Research shows that young people who learn to make good decisions and plan ahead do better in school, are less likely to engage in drinking, smoking, or using other drugs, and are better able to accomplish more of what they want. Only about 29 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say they know how to plan ahead and make choices, according to Search Institute surveys. .
Interpersonal Competence. Interpersonal competence involves a young person’s ability to make friends and develop lasting relationships, as well as emotional aptitude. Parents and other caring adults can help young people learn how to monitor their own expressions of feelings, read other people’s reactions and feelings (even if they aren’t expressed in words), and adjust social interactions based on the situation.
About 45 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say they have empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. Family is the cornerstone of most young people’s lives, but everyone needs friends, too. Smile and say hello to at least one new person each day!
Cultural Competence. Although most people gravitate toward people who are similar to themselves, it’s important to expose young people to a variety of cultures and people. People from different cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds can learn many things from one another. Being culturally competent doesn’t mean that you have to like others who are different from you, but rather be able to treat one another with respect, tolerance, and equality. It means making an effort to learn about and understand people of other cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.
Explore other cultures’ or countries’ people, art, sayings, food, songs and traditions. Help young people learn about the backgrounds of others and create a more understanding world by appreciating differences.
Resistance Skills. Learning resistance is one of the most important social skills to develop. This skill gives young people the confidence to say “no” to people or situations that make them uncomfortable. Learning to assert themselves also helps young people make their voices heard and express opinions. With these skills in hand young people make appropriate decisions and stand firm in what they believe.
Teach young people resistance skills, but also teach them the values that support why they would take a stand on an issue. Having many conversations with a teenager about drug use, sex, safety, and personal boundaries increases the chance he or she will make a safe choice.
Peaceful Conflict Resolution. Whether it’s a spat between sisters over who should take out the trash or an argument between nations over natural resources, disagreements are a part of being human. But no matter how small or large, every dispute can be resolved peacefully if both sides are willing to listen and compromise. Encourage young people to talk it out—and truly listen to one another. Speaking and listening respectfully are key.
Research shows that young people who resolve conflicts peacefully do better in school, have higher self-esteem, and are less likely to use alcohol and other substances.
Next week will be the final week of our Training Tidbits when we visit creating a Positive Identity!
Remember! Everyone’s an Asset Builder. The 40 Developmental Assets is designed to inform individuals about the Developmental Assets framework and motivates them to be effective asset builders.
Be intentional. Be an asset builder.