Academy Advice

LA Family Support--February

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

Developmental Relationships: Challenge Growth

How is your family doing in the following areas?

  • We expect each other to live up to our potential.
  • We push each other to go further.
  • We insist that we each take responsibility for our own actions.
  • We help each other learn from mistakes and setbacks.

Discussion Starters to Challenge Growth

  • How has someone inspired you to take on a challenge? How did they motivate you?
  • How does challenging other people to grow either help or hurt your relationship?
  • What are some challenges our family has faced together? How did you grow while dealing with those challenges?

Discussion Starters with Other Parenting Adults

  1. Throughout our lives as parents, we’ve had to challenge our kids to take on new challenges and grow. What have been some of the most rewarding times you’ve had in challenging growth? What have been some of the hardest?
  2. Challenging our kids to grow can be tricky. On the one hand, pushing our kids to take on challenges helps them grow. On the other hand, we hope they will work on goals because they want to. How do we live with that tension?
  3. Who are the people who challenge you to learn and grow as a parent? What do they say or do that really helps you keep going, even when it’s tough?
  4. How often has your child had the experience of working hard at something and eventually succeeding? How can we ensure the young person has that experience in the future?
  5. What do you say and do when your child makes a mistake? Are there things you could do to encourage your child to see mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow?

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