Learning the difference between right and wrong
Boundaries are important to young people because they give clear messages about what’s expected. By the same token, caring adults who expect young people to do their best helps them to learn good judgement. Boundaries and Expectations do not mean discipline in negative terms or punishment. Teaching is what these assets are all about-teaching what’s admirable and what’s not; teaching what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate; teaching what’s worthwhile and what’s not. Every day young people face many options and choices. Boundaries and Expectations provide young people with the support they need to choose wisely.
ASSETS IN THE BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATIONS CATEGORY
Research shows that the more young people have clear, consistent boundaries and high expectations, the more likely they are to grow up healthy. Search Institute has identified six assets in the Boundaries and Expectations category that are crucial for helping young people succeed: Family Boundaries, School Boundaries, Neighborhood Boundaries, Adult Role Models, Positive Peer Influence, and High Expectations.
TIPS FOR BUILDING THESE ASSETS
Provide clear messages, appropriate consequences, and realistic expectations. Family conversations around setting rules and expectations helps youth feel heard and gives them a chance to provide input in a neutral situation. With youth buy in, rules are more likely to be followed, and productive discussions are more likely when a rule is broken if all family members are in agreement from the start.
Modeling responsible behavior is also important when establishing boundaries and expectations. What messages are you sending to youth by how you conduct yourself? Youth are more likely to demonstrate safe and responsible behaviors if they see them modeled by a trusted adult.
Young people need your guidance to stay safe and healthy. You offer healthy boundaries and expectations when you:
- Set and enforce clear, respectful rules and limits;
- Behave in healthy are responsible ways; and
- Expect kids to do and be their best
HOW CAN YOU SET BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR FAMILY?
- In your home and family: Involve your child in family meetings to discuss family rules and what happens when the boundaries are violated. Compare with boundaries in other places where your child spends time, and work to provide consistency.
- In your neighborhood and community: Practice responsible behavior at all times to help young people understand why it’s important. Make a point to monitor the behavior of all young people you come in contact with—not just your own children.
- In your school or youth program: Work with young people to set boundaries and rules within your school or program. Post a written set of rules in visible places: hallways, classrooms, lunchroom, or a gymnasium.
Want to know more about Search Institute’s other seven asset categories or the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.ecabnetwork.org
Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. Adapted from Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.