Discipline builds character, responsibility in young people

This is the fourth in a series of posts that take a closer look at the developmental assets that are at the foundation of the AstraZeneca Young Health Program: IM40.  Earlier posts may be found here, here and here.

Today’s post explores “boundaries and expectations” as a category of external assets provided by families, individuals and communities.

What are boundaries and expectations?

Young people need to know what is expected of them and whether activities and behaviors are “in bounds” or “out of bounds,” according to Search Institute. Teaching is what these assets are all about – teaching what admirable and what’s not, what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate.

The six boundaries and expectations assets

The developmental assets framework includes six boundaries and expectations assets that remind us of the importance of consistency. Young people benefit from hearing the same messages about what’s in bounds and out of bounds from parents, school and the community at large.

  1. Family boundaries – Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts.
  2. School boundaries – School provides clear rules and consequences.
  3. Neighborhood boundaries – Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.
  4. Adult role models – Parents and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
  5. Positive peer influence – Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior.
  6. High expectations – Both parents and teachers encourage the young person to do well.

Assets in action: Ron’s story

Seeing a need to help kids understand the importance of having self-discipline and responsibility was what led AstraZeneca’s Ron Martin to get involved mentoring young people in his community. Here, Ron shares how The Delaware Panthers Basketball Club and ICE Academy helps young men with Individual Character Enhancement.

Ideas for building boundaries and expectations assets

The following tips are courtesy of Search Institute:

  • Provide clear rules and consistent consequences
  • Use positive strategies to affect behaviors –“catch” youth doing good things, provide positive reinforcement
  • Give incentives for good behavior – extra privileges, opportunities for special activities
  • Model respectful behavior
  • Enlist youth in modeling good boundaries for others
  • Tell youth directly that you have high expectations for them and be explicit about those expectations
  • Inspire youth:  Let them hear from older youth who are on the way to meeting admirable, achievable goals.

For more information about the Young Health Program: IM40, visit www.im40.org. To connect with other asset builders on Twitter, use #YHP40 or visit us on Facebook.