About Valerie Nelson

Valerie is a Families.com blogger, freelance writer and small business owner. Valerie helps non-profit organizations with fundraising through grant development for their programs and projects. Valerie enjoys spending time with her family and currently lives in Michigan.

Positive Identity

The last group of assets that will be written about in this series speak to the need for children to grow up with a sense of purpose and worth. Parents play an integral role in helping a child to establish their sense of self worth. The Positive Identity assets include: • Personal Power • Self-esteem • Sense of purpose • Positive view of personal future Children need to know that they have control and responsibility for things that happen to them. Of course, this is not always the case in situations of abuse or other external factors. Help your child … Continue reading

Social Competencies

As a single parent, I am always looking for resources to help me become a better parent and help my children to grow up healthy. One great resource that I have been discussing over the past few weeks is the Search Institute’s asset development tools, which addresses the multi-faceted development of children. The next group of assets are categorized as social competencies, which speak to the need for children and teens to “Build skills and competencies that equip them to make positive choices, build relationships and succeed in life” (Search Institute). The social competencies assets are: • Planning and decision … Continue reading

Learning Positive Values

Children need to develop positive values that help them in making good decisions. According to the Search Institute, “The more a child develops positive values that guide her or his behavior, the more likely it is that she or he will make positive choices and grow up healthy.” Some of the more prominent values that are necessary to grow up healthy include: • Caring • Equality and social justice • Integrity • Honesty • Responsibility • Restraint Children learn values primarily by observing parents and other people in their lives. If you regularly exhibit the above-mentioned values, your child will … Continue reading

Engaged Learners

The next asset in this series recognizes the need for children to be engaged in learning. Like many of the other assets, this one is best acquired by parental modeling. It helps children to see their parents engaged in learning new things. As single parents, we may feel like we do not have enough time in the day to keep up with what we need to do in our jobs and homes let alone learn something new. You do not necessarily have to take a structured class at an adult education center, although this could be a viable option for … Continue reading

Motivation to Achieve

Our next asset in this series deals with providing a model for children to be motivated to do well in school and other activities. Family member should model success in their work, and community activities. In addition, contact with other successful adults can go a long way. A person I know once told me that his parents often had friends over to their house for dinner and other activities. This person would listen to the adults talking, and through those conversations became very interested in the business world. He knew that he wanted to be a businessperson. Today he is … Continue reading

Character Education

Is teaching character really a subject that belongs in school? I believe the answer to this question is an astounding Yes! Children need to learn the core subjects of math, reading, science, and social studies. There is no question about that, but kids also need to understand what characteristics will help them to grow in to productive, responsible citizens. Surveys show excessive levels of cheating, lying, stealing and drunken driving among teens and young adults. There are increases in risky behaviors including delinquency, pregnancy, violence and substance abuse in America’s youth. Unethical behavior can be seen far too often in … Continue reading

Family Time

The next asset in this series calls for positive, supervised activities that families can enjoy together at home. For the optimal growth of children families should spend four or nights per week together and substantial time together during the weekends in enjoyable predictable routines. This can be challenging for single parent families whose parents work two jobs or juggling parenting time between two different households. Sit down together as a family and determine what is an appropriate amount of time for all of you to spend time together, and then plan when that will occur. It has been said before … Continue reading

Religious Community

Another important asset to help instill in our children is a sense of religious community. For single parent families the involvement in a loving, supportive community of faith can help ease the pain and emotional suffering that both parents and children feel. Many congregations offer divorce support and recovery classes and often have members who themselves have been through a divorce and can relate to what your family might be going through. One important aspect of this asset is for adults and their children to both be involved in religious services. Do not just drop your children off and pick … Continue reading

Ending Early College Admissions

For the past few days, the headlines in most education news read that Harvard University has ended its early admission practice. This means that high school seniors can no longer apply to the school in October and receive a response in December rather than waiting until the spring to hear back from the college of choice. Since it has been a few years since I applied to any college, and I have a few more years until my children will be making a decision about where to attend college, I had only a passing interest in the story. My interest … Continue reading

Youth Programs

The next asset in this series speaks to a child’s need for out of home activities. The Search Institute recommends that elementary age children be involved in an extra curricular activity for at least one hour per week. Teens should be involved for up to three hours per week in outside activities. For many children extra-curricular activities can be joined at school when they are available. Many children of single parent families attend an after-school daycare type of program that may help fill this need for other activities. The idea is to help children define their areas of interest and … Continue reading