Academy Advice

LA Family Support--August

The Developmental Relationships Framework

Young people are more likely to grow up successfully when they experience developmental relationships with important people in their lives. Developmental relationships are close connections through which young people discover who they are, cultivate abilities to shape their own lives, and learn how to engage with and contribute to the world around them.

When kids experience these five keys in their relationships with parents, they develop attitudes and skills that will help them throughout their lives. They become more resilient, and that helps them overcome the challenges they face.

Search Institute has identified five elements that make relationships powerful in young people's lives. (Source: Each month we will highlight one of the elements and share practical ways to build this in your child.

Big picture
Big picture

Developmental Relationships: Express Care

What does that look like?

  • Be someone they can trust. Do what you say you will do, and keep your promises.
  • Really pay attention to them when you are together. Focus on youth when they are talking about things that matter to them. Put away your cell phone. Ask follow-up questions so you both know you're interested and tracking.
  • Make them feel known and valued. Follow-up with them when you know they have gone through something, rather than waiting for them to bring it up again.
  • Show them you enjoy being with them. Make time for fun. Share in some humor and laughter even when doing the practical tasks of the day. Find satisfaction in doing things for and with your child, even if these things wouldn't otherwise be important to you.
  • Praise them for their efforts and achievements. Let them know it when they do something you are proud of or admire.

Bottom Line: SHOW ME that I MATTER to YOU.

Discussion Starters With Your Kids

  1. Tell about a time when someone wasn’t really listening that led to a funny moment. It might be in your extended family, among friends, at school, or at work.
  2. When are times you’ve felt close as a family? Where were you? What were you doing? What made that time memorable?
  3. What sacrifices have others made for you or your family? How have those sacrifices or investments affected your life?
  4. What’s something you really enjoy doing that you haven’t had a chance to do lately? What do you enjoy about it?
  5. Who are people you really trust? What do they do that helps you trust them?

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We'd love to know what you think of these resources! Did you try them? How did they go? How else can we help?