This month, our conversation centers on the importance of developmental relationships. Healthy developmental relationships happen when youth and adults actively listen to each other; treat each other with respect, honesty, kindness, and empathy; have a shared understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the relationship; respectfully challenge and hold each other accountable; and enjoy their time together.
Here are some tips for the home:
Be emotionally close. No two parents show love in quite the same way. Some shower their kids with lots of hugs, high fives, and kind notes; others are more stoic or reserved. Tap into your own way of showing your kids you care.
Communicate openly and directly. When you speak to your kids, are your messages grounded in love, respect, and clarity? Do you ever say one thing and mean another?
Set clear rules. The key to reducing everyone’s stress and frustration about rules and expectations is to be clear, consistent, reasonable, and evolutionary. “Evolutionary” means being responsive to your child’s changing developmental needs and what they’ve demonstrated about their choices.
Give kids chances to help out and serve others. Show your kids that they are valued at home by giving them increasing levels of responsibility. Then take it a step further by helping them get engaged in service in the community, whether in the neighborhood, school, or somewhere else.
ParentFurther is a Search Institute resource for families. ParentFurther uses a positive, strength-based approach to parenting, focusing on what’s right with kids (and parents), and the small, everyday steps you can take to help kids be successful in the future.