40 Developmental Assets for Raising Successful, Amazing Children - David C Figueroa's Blog
David C Figueroa's Blog

40 Developmental Assets for Raising Successful, Amazing Children


How To Grow Healthy, Caring, and Responsible Children

Would you like to raise successful children? Well, who wouldn’t right? Most parents want their kids to be successful in school, successful in work, and successful in society in general.

Unfortunately, many children in today’s society grow up to be unproductive, failing adults. They have no goals, minimal social and emotional intelligence, and often end up as residents in a penal institution.

Approximately 423,077 delinquency cases are adjudicated and disposed of in juvenile courts annually according to youth.gov.

Many of today’s youth fall into gangs, alcohol abuse, and drug use. They fail in school and are marginally literate.

Worse yet, we have had an epidemic of mass shootings by young men with an assault rifle. There’s been Columbine High School in 1999, Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, and more recently Uvalde in 2022 at Robb Elementary School where many tragic deaths have occurred. It’s now gotten to the point where it is difficult to keep track of all the mass killings.

On the brighter side, we can’t lose track of the fact that there are still many more intelligent, healthy, ambitious youth who are successful in school, and are destined to become successful, productive citizens. These are children who raise money for good causes. They help to beautify our neighborhoods, and serve us our Starbucks coffee. They are at the forefront of technology and are already discovering new solutions for today’s problems. They’re just wonderful people to have around!

The question becomes. . . “How do we raise more successful, well-adjusted children?”

Fortunately, the Search Institute after 30 years of research, has identified “40 Developmental Assets” that are the building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

External Assets

The supports, opportunities, and relationships young people need across all aspects of their lives.


  • Family support- Family life provides high levels of love and support.

  • Positive family communication- Parent(s) and child communicate positively. Child feels comfortable seeking advice and counsel from parent(s).

  • Other adult relationships- Child receives support from adults other than her or his parent(s).

  • Caring neighborhood- Child experiences caring neighbors.

  • Caring school climate- Relationships with teachers and peers provide a caring, encouraging environment.

  • Parent involvement in schooling- Parent(s) are actively involved in helping the child succeed in school.


  • Community values youth- Child feels valued and appreciated by adults in the community.

  • Youth as resources- Child is included in decisions at home and in the community.

  • Service to others- Child has opportunities to help others in the community.

  • Safety- Child feels safe at home, at school, and in his or her neighborhood.

Boundaries and Expectations

  • Family boundaries- Family has clear and consistent rules and consequences and monitors the child’s whereabouts.

  • School boundaries- School provides clear rules and consequences.

  • Neighborhood boundaries- Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring the child’s behavior.

  • Adult role models- Parent(s) and other adults in the child’s family, as well as nonfamily adults, model positive, responsible behavior.

  • Positive peer influence- Child’s closest friends model positive, responsible behavior.

  • High expectations- Parent(s) and teachers expect the child to do her or his best at school and in other activities.

Constructive Use of Time

  • Creative activities- Child participates in music, art, drama, or creative writing two or more times per week.

  • Child programs- Child participates two or more times per week in co-curricular school activities or structured community programs for children.

  • Religious community- Child attends religious programs or services one or more times per week.

  • Time at home- Child spends some time most days both in high-quality interaction with parents and doing things at home other than watching TV or playing video games.

Internal Assets

The personal skills, commitments, and values they need to make good choices, take responsibility for their own lives, and be independent and fulfilled.

Commitment to Learning

  • Achievement motivation- Child is motivated and strives to do well in school.

  • Learning engagement- Child is responsive, attentive, and actively engaged in learning at school and enjoys participating in learning activities outside of school.

  • Homework- Child usually hands in homework on time.

  • Bonding to school- Child cares about teachers and other adults at school.

  • Reading for pleasure- Child enjoys and engages in reading for fun most days of the week.

Positive Values

  • Caring- Parent(s) tell the child it is important to help other people.

  • Equality and social justice- Parent(s) tell the child it is important to speak up for equal rights for all people.

  • Integrity- Parent(s) tell the child it is important to speak up for equal rights for all people.

  • Honesty- Parent(s) tell the child it is important to tell the truth.

  • Responsibility- Parent(s) tell the child it is important to accept personal responsibility for behavior.

  • Healthy lifestyle- Parent(s) tell the child it is important to have good health habits and an understanding of healthy sexuality.

Social Competencies

  • Planning and decision making- Child thinks about decisions and is usually happy with results of her or his decisions.

  • Interpersonal competence-Child cares about and is affected by other people’s feelings, enjoys making friends, and, when frustrated or angry, tries to calm her- or himself.

  • Cultural competence- Child knows and is comfortable with people of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and with her or his own cultural identity.

  • Resistance skills- Child can stay away from people who are likely to get her or him in trouble and is able to say no to doing wrong or dangerous things.

  • Peaceful conflict resolution- Child seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.

Positive Identity

  • Personal power- Child feels he or she has some influence over things that happen in her or his life.

  • Self-esteem- Child likes and is proud to be the person that he or she is.

  • Sense of purpose- Child sometimes thinks about what life means and whether there is a purpose for her or his life.

  • Positive view of personal future- Child is optimistic about her or his personal future.

No written permission is required by Search Institute to copy the Developmental Assets® for educational, noncommercial uses, provided that the list is unchanged and includes this copyright citation:

The 40 Developmental Assets® may be reproduced for educational, non-commercial uses only. Copyright ©1997 Search Institute®, 3001 Broadway Street NE, Suite 310, Minneapolis MN 55413; 800-888-7828; www.search-institute.org. All rights reserved.

How does a parent instill these assets within a child?

First a parent must proactively talk about these assets as the child grows. Children listen to everything a parent says. They may look like they are playing their game, but they are also listening to what the parents say and talk about.

If you want them to know about “integrity,” “honesty,” and “responsibility,” you must talk about the meaning of these words directly or indirectly with your children. More importantly, you must model these concepts to your children. It cannot be “Do as I say not as I do.” Also, it is important that both parents be aligned in teaching the same values to their children.

Children like when they have structure, rules, and consequences. Don’t be afraid to set limits. Be consistent in enforcing your rules and consequences. Many parents struggle with their children’s behavior when they are not consistent, or they let the child rule the house. Remember, YOU are the parent.

Finally, demonstrate that you care by spending time with your children. It used to be thought that a parent was fine spending a little bit of time with their children as long as it was “quality” time.

However, now the research suggests that the amount of time is also important. Of course, you must demonstrate your love and affection to them with hugs and kisses.

Research consistently shows that young people from all backgrounds do better when they have a strong foundation of the above strengths in their lives.

I have a daughter, several nieces and nephews, and some neighborhood kids that we have helped raise and seen grow up. I am proud to say that they have all grown up to be amazing, exceptional adults.

As I was reviewing the 40 Developmental Assets, I could see that we as a “village” applied the majority of these elements in raising these terrific kids. You can do the same.

If you got value from this article, please share it with your social media network. I also enjoy reading your comments below.

To your success,

David C Figueroa

Success Coach

P.S. You will also be interested to read this FREE additional report entitled “The Ultimate Success System That Never Fails.” It describes the 12 factors that are consistently referred to by the ancient philosophers and current success experts as being essential for success in children and adults.

Click the image below for immediate access. . .

About the Author David C Figueroa

David C Figueroa is a psychologist with over 35 years of experience teaching personal development. An awesome success coach, and internet marketer. Now retired, he has refocused his goals into helping ambitious men and women to create exceptional lives.

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