Academy Advice

LA Family Support--September

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: Challenge Growth

What does that look like?

  • Expect their best: Expect them to live up to their potential. Highlight future goals . Talk with young people about the things they look forward to or dream about.
  • Stretch: Push them to go further. Expand their thinking by asking hard questions, providing alternate explanations, and encouraging openness to different opinions. This helps them expand their own thinking.
  • Hold them accountable: Insist they take responsibility for their actions. Expect your children to do their best, even when doing something they don't really like.
  • Reflect on failures: Help them learn from mistakes and setbacks. Emphasize that mistakes are a necessary part of learning. Praise them for hard work, whether they succeed or fail.

Bottom Line: PUSH THEM to keep getting BETTER.

Discussion Starters with Your Kids for Challenging Growth

What is something you used to do poorly but now do well? What did you do to improve? Why did you keep working to get better? Did anyone help you? What does the fact that you got better tell you about your ability to achieve other goals?

  1. How has someone inspired you to take on a new challenge? What was inspiring to you about it? What was hard about it?
  2. How does challenging other people to grow either strengthen or hurt your relationship? And how does having a strong relationship make it easier or harder to push people to learn and grow?
  3. What are ways family members have challenged you to learn and grow? How did you respond? What made it easier or harder to keep working toward completing the task or achieving the goal?
  4. In what ways have you challenged other people to do things that would help them learn and grow? How did they respond?
  5. What are some challenges we’ve faced together in our family? In what ways did we grow in the midst of those challenges?
  6. The writer Samuel Beckett once wrote this line in a poem: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” What do you think it means to “fail better?” Have you ever failed better?

Contact Us!

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