The Search Institute has identified the following building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.
1 Family support - Family life provides high levels of love and support.
2 Positive family communication - Young persons and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parents.
3 Other adult relationships - Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
4 Caring Neighborhood - Young person experiences caring neighbors.
5 Caring school climate - School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
6 Parent involvement in schooling - Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.
7 Community values youth - Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
8 Youth as resources- Young people are given useful roles in the community.
9 Service to others - young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.
10 Safety - Young person feels safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood.
Boundaries and Expectations
11 Family boundaries - Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts.
12 School boundaries - School provides clear rules and consequences.
13 Neighborhood boundaries - Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.
14 Adult role models - Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
15 Positive peer influence - Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior.
16 High expectations - Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.
Constructive Use of Time
17 Creative activities - Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
18 Youth programs - Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school or in the community.
19 Religious community - Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.
20 Time at home - Young person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week.
Commitment to Learning
21 Achievement motivation - Young person is motivated to do well in school.
22 School engagement - Young person is actively engaged in learning.
23 Homework - Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
24 Bonding to school - Young person cares about her or his school.
25 Reading for pleasure - Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.
26 Caring - young person places high value on helping other people.
27 Equality and social justice - Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
28 Integrity - Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs.
29 Honesty - Young person “tells the truth even when it is not easy.”
30 Responsibility - Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.
31 Restraint - Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.
32 Planning and decision making - Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
33 interpersonal competence - Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
34 Cultural competence - Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
35 Resistance skills - Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
36 Peaceful conflict resolution - Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.
37 Personal power - young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.”
38 Self-esteem - Young person reports having a high self-esteem.
39 sense of purpose - Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.”
40 Positive view of personal future - Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.
Permission to reproduce this handout is granted for educational, noncommercial purposes. Copyright © 1997 by Search Institute, 700 South Third Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415. 800-888-7828. www.search-institute.org.