Developmental assets can be defined in terms of opportunities, associations and personal traits that young people require so as to avoid risks and to be successful (Search Institute, 2010). Research has indicated that the number of assets that young people possess match up with the probability of their engagement in risky behaviors. The more the assets one has, the slimmer the probability of engaging in risky behavior and vice versa. Levels of assets are therefore useful in predicting ones engagement in risky behaviors and success. Adolescents frequently display socially undesirable behaviors.This is a stage for developing independence; most young people find themselves in trouble when they take advantage of the freedom given. In most cases individuals exercise their freedom wrongly by disregarding their parents or guardian’s rule, this leads in misconduct more often. Physical confrontations are also common among peers. Compared to other stages of development, this stage may require an individual to possess many assets so as to display socially acceptable behaviors. A risk factor increases the chances of getting into trouble.
Peer influence can serve as a serious risk factor for adolescents (Scales, Peter & Leffert, 1999). In most instances, this group of individuals find themselves in trouble due to peer pressure. In an attempt to fit in a particular group these individuals are forced to behave in a certain way, frequently they are forced to conform to socially unacceptable habits that are not approved by the society. Negative peer influence becomes hard to control at some point because the adolescents believe that they are old enough to make decisions on what path to take for their life.
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At this stage, positive peer influence is greatly encouraged. Young people need good friends at this stage failure to which may have very serious consequences. Lack of parental involvement in the progress of the students’ academic and social life poses a problem (Learner & Benson, 2002). The parents in this case lack clear guidelines on what their children need, the parents may be too busy to have time for discussing academic and social issues. Parents are expected to be active participants in helping their children to succeed in school instead of leaving that responsibility to the teachers entirely.
Parents need to be enthusiastically participating in observing their children’s progress so that they can correct them if they go wrong. High expectations on young people on tasks that are beyond their intellectual or proficiency levels can have negative implications. Inability to perform these tasks will make the young people to feel inadequate. Teachers or parents sometimes assign difficult roles that are beyond the student’s ability in an attempt to prompt their thinking and mode of performing tasks. Adolescents should be assigned roles that are challenging but not too challenging for them to handle.
Peer influence can be strengthened by putting emphasis on the issue of physical boundaries and social expectations (Search Institute, 2010). These are external assets that can serve as good starting points towards changing the behavioral patterns on the adolescents. Family boundaries entail the rules and regulations that monitor the young persons’ movements. These assets also call for positive peer influence among the peers; this will encourage peers to display positive behaviors that can be imitated by others.
Adult role models can be an effective tool towards fighting adolescent misconduct, one they display desirable behaviors adolescents can learn from them hence becoming better people in society. Support is an important aspect in adolescents’ lives. Majority of adolescents continue misbehaving because once they start misbehaving they are regarded as rebellious. No guidance is offered for them to change their habits. Family, peer and society support is important during this period. Schools that these students attend should have a favorable environment for learning.
Caring neighborhoods, good learning environment, are among the aspects that support the normal development of the adolescents. These aspects should therefore be supportive of such growth (Search Institute, 2010). Young people’s commitment to learning should be motivated by reinforcing their efforts. This will enhance their ability to perform difficult tasks since they are motivated. They should be allowed to participate in several activities instead of restricting their school activities to books only. Healthy bonding with the teachers will ensure that the students develop love for school and eagerness to learn.
Conducive learning environments generally motivate students to perform well in academic matters as well as co-curriculum activities. The school management should allow students to interact through youth programs. This could be through sports, clubs or organizations; this could be at school or outside school. Religious meetings are also important since they shape the adolescents spiritually. In such meetings youths come together to share experiences and encourage each other (Scales, Peter & Leffert, 1999).
Such organizations also ensure that the adolescents become aware that development is a natural process. The learning environment should be conducive by allowing students to participate in creative activities. This allows them to develop their talents. The students can therefore learn as they improve on their skills to perform various tasks. The learning process is balanced in this case since it also lays emphasis on the skills of the students. Adolescents should be allowed to have a sense of positive identity; this is an aspect that supports their growth.
They should be made to feel that they are in charge hence they can perform tasks assigned to them. This will boost their self esteem. They further develop a sense of belonging so that they can feel wanted and appreciated. Peer pressure is a common negative feature that is common among adolescents. It may bear positive or negative implication to the adolescents, negative implications are more common. It is not easy to deal with peer pressure; however, effective guiding and counseling can be an effective tool to combat this problem (Learner & Benson, 2002).
The mode of combating it should never restrict the adolescent child from interacting with the peers; instead interaction should be encouraged since it is a healthy part of growth. Peer pressure is the major cause of adolescent misconduct hence the issue needs to be addressed seriously. Support offered to students is important; however this support should not exceed a given limit. Students should be supported and at the same time left to perform tasks that are manageable. Parents, guardians and teachers can be a source of adolescent misconduct by pampering them; adolescents can misuse independence as stated earlier.
There needs to be a standard level of offering help to these individuals, this makes them responsible and develop keenness in conducting the roles assigned (Search Institute, 2010). For the learning process to run smoothly; the learning environment should be conducive. Teachers, peers and the location of the school determine the air surrounding the learning environment. Individual students can make the learning process interesting by actively participating in the learning process (Lerner & Benson, 2002).
The teacher can also make the learning environment conducive by using appropriate methods in teaching. Peer interaction in the learning environment also plays a role in enhancing the learning process. Adolescents frequently display undesirable habits. Developmental assets are an important part of their development since they bear positive impacts in their day-to-day activities. Positive peer pressure, parental support and a favorable learning environment are among the assets that support adolescents’ healthy growth.
Search institute. (2010). Developmental Assets Tools. Search Institute. Minneapolis. Retrieved on 16th July, 2010 from http://www.search-institute.org/assets
Scales, P. Scales, P. C. Leffert, N. & Lerner R. M. (1999). Developmental assets: a synthesis of the scientific research on adolescent development. Washington. Search Institute.
Lerner R. M. & Benson P. L. (2002). Developmental assets and asset-building communities: implications for research, policy, and practice. NY. Springer.
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