Academy Advice

LA Family Support--Full Content for Provide Support

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.

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Big picture

Developmental Relationships: Provide Support

What does that look like?

  • Navigate: Guide them through hard situations and systems.
  • Empower: Build their confidence to take charge of their life.
  • Advocate: Stand up for them when they need it.
  • Set boundaries: Put limits in place that keep me on track.

Bottom Line: HELP them achieve tasks and complete goals!

Discussion Starters to Grow How You Provide Support

Everyone needs help from other people. It can be tricky to find a balance between having others support us and being responsible on our own.

  • Who is someone you admire who encourages you to pursue your goals? What does this person do that really helps you?
  • What was a recent time you struggled with a challenge? How did people in this family encourage you?
  • Have people tried to help you when you didn't want it? How did you deal with that?

Developmental Relationships: Provide Support

Getting Started: Ideas for Parents

Here are some ways moms, dads, and other parenting adults provide support to their kids:

  1. Offer information and practical help to solve a problem, or lend them something they may need.
  2. Show young people how to ask for help when they need it.
  3. Shift levels of support. Give more support when young people are struggling, and less when they are making progress. Step back as their skills and confidence build.
  4. When you teach your child a skill, demonstrate it by breaking it into smaller steps.
  5. When your children are not getting the help they need, find people who can address the issue.

Discussion Starters with Your Kids

  • Think about a recent time you were struggling with a challenge. What are some ways family members helped you?
  • Who is someone you admire who really encourages you to pursue your goals? What do they do that really matters for you?
  • What do you most appreciate people doing to support you when you’re working toward a goal?
  • What do other people do that builds your confidence when you’re working on important tasks or goals?
  • When has someone stood up for you and helped you get what you needed? How did you feel after they helped you with that?
  • How does setting limits or boundaries help us stay focused on our tasks or goals?
  • When have people tried to help you or support you when you didn’t really want it? How did you deal with that? What might you do next time?

Discussion Starters with Other Parenting Adults*

  1. How do you balance doing things for your child vs. letting your child do things for themselves? How do you know when you do (or don’t) get that balance right?
  2. What are ways we as parents help each other navigate challenges, empower each other, advocate for each other, and set boundaries for each other? What kinds of mutual support from other parents do we most appreciate?
  3. How do you respond when you see your children being treated unfairly? Is it different if they’re being treated unfairly by their friends, other kids, teachers, other adults, or some larger system (such as police, or schools)?
  4. When has the need to support your kids changed—either because you needed to back off, or because they needed more support in some area? How did you adjust? How did that affect other parts of your relationship? How did it affect other relationships?

* These parenting adults may include your spouse or partner, extended family members, friends who are parents, or a parent group or class.

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