Search Institute has identified five essential actions in parent-child relationships that help children and teens grow up well. Here are some discussion-starter questions that can help you talk with your children and teens about different parts of your relationship. The goal is not to get the right answer, but to share each person’s experiences, feelings, and beliefs so you get to know each other better.
Ask these questions when people are not rushed or distracted. Start with just one question. Then try others as long as people are interested and available. Have fun discovering new things about each other and your family.
Express Care: Different families express care in different ways. How do your family members see each other expressing care? Use these discussion starters to talk about it together.
Challenge Growth: Challenging growth focuses on the ways we encourage, inspire, push, or otherwise influence each other to try new things, take risks, or overcome obstacles. These discussion starters focus on how this happens–or doesn’t happen–in your family.
Provide Support: Everyone needs help from other people sometimes. It can be tricky, though, to find the right balance of having others support us and being responsible on our own. Use these questions to talk about the right balance for you and your family
Share Power: Parents influence kids, kids influence parents, and siblings influence each other. Families are stronger when they are intentional in the ways they share power with each other. Use these discussion prompts to explore these issues.
Expand Possibility: It can be exciting and stimulating for family members to help each other explore new possibilities together. Use these questions to talk together about how people have opened up possibilities for you–and other horizons you’d love to explore together as a family.
For more discussion starters as well as activities to try in your family to build developmental relationships, visit ParentFurther.com. You can also find discussion-starter questions on ParentFurther to talk with other parenting adults about how they build relationships with their kids.