More on youth development and the 40 Developmental Assets needed by 12 to 18 year olds, as described by the Search Institute.
3) Service: where young people serve in the community at least one hour each week.
Together with your kids, do something for someone else, whether it’s making a financial contribution, baking cookies or helping someone out.
Make and send cards to hospitalized children, nursing home residents, or people in the military.
Organize a community or neighborhood “closet-cleaning day.” Deliver everything you collect to a shelter or thrift store.
Provide foster care for a pet through an animal shelter or for a friend or neighbor who is out of town or ill.
Organize or participate together in a fundraiser such as a walk or run. Donate the proceeds to hurricane relief, camp scholarships, or other causes.
4) Safety: Youth need to feel safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood.
Create a loving, safe, violence-free home environment. If weapons are ever part of a bullying threat, take the threat seriously. The police should be informed.
Talk with your teen about the connection between driving and emotions. Point out that driving while angry, sad, or preoccupied can be as dangerous as drinking and driving. New drivers need to be in control of their own emotions and alert to the reactions of other drivers.
Remove yourself from a situation immediately if you ever feel troubled enough to use physical or emotional violence against your teenager. Leave the room—go for a walk, visit a neighbor, call a trusted friend or counselor—but physically go somewhere else and calm down.
Parents must decide when a teen’s welfare or the welfare of others is seriously endangered, and take action.
If your child is engaging in risky behaviors of any sort, it’s time to intervene, monitor behavior closely, and perhaps seek professional support.