Helping build more protection for your child

Protective assets (or protective factors) are life tools or resources that help a person person stay safe and healthy, and allow them to become a successful adult and a contributing member of a community. Think of assets as something that give you an advantage or edge in a competition or challenging situation. For example, in a game of football having quick feet and good vision of the playing field may give you an advantage over players with less of these skills. In the classroom, a student may do better on an exam because he or she had learnt the need to study, having enough sleep the night before, eating breakfast, and not getting into a fight on the way to school.

Protective assets reside within a person: For example, it can be a characteristic like having a good sense of humor, or being calm and showing leadership during difficult situations. Assets may be located in the environment, such as in the home where a parent pays close attention to the health and well-being of a child; or a school where teachers encourage and support students’ positive efforts to achieve. Also, assets are found in communities, churches, temples, mosques, etc., neighborhoods or communities where caring adults are supportive of youth’s health and safety. The challenge is to help our children identify, access and use these assets.

 Creating assets does not require moneyCreating and applying assets does not require money. What they typically require is the time and commitment of caring adults and friends who support, encourage and guide youth. Parents play a key role, but everyone in the youth community (that can be school, religious group, sports teams, workplace, homes of friends and relatives) can contribute by making the personal commitment to support youth in making positive behavior choices that help protect against irresponsible drug use and other negative health and social behaviors.

One major source of assets for your child is you, being a prevention-smart parent when communicating with your child and being effective with care and discipline. This category of assets is so important that we devote the next chapter to this topic.

Prevention-Smart launched for initial evaluation on June 26th 2009. If you have any comments or feedback, please email us via the contact form.