40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents

The Search Institute has identified the following building blocks of healthy development—known as Developmental Assets—that help young children grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. This particular list is intended for adolescents (age 12-18).

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Growing evidence suggests that strategically and systematically investing in building developmental relationships can be catalytic for effective education, programs, and services for children, youth, and families. Researchers Li and Julian wrote:

The effectiveness of child-serving programs, practices, and policies is determined first and foremost by whether they strengthen or weaken developmental relationships. . . . When developmental relationships are prevalent, development is promoted, and when this type of relationship is not available or diluted, interventions show limited effects.14

To respond, we first have to ask: What makes a relationship “developmental”? In other words, what happens in relationships that contribute to learning, growing, and thriving? And how do we start doing something as nebulous as “improving relationships”?

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