This is part four of our 6-part series on family relationships. Click to read parts one and two and three. All of the blog posts in this series are focused on how families can use Search Institute’s Developmental Relationship Framework–the key elements of strong relationships–as their kids transition to middle or high school.
When they’re young, children depend on their parents for almost everything. But as they transition to middle school and can do more on their own, there are particular ways parents can support them while they learn to trust their own judgment and grow more independent.
Even though kids may become more skilled than their parents at some things (such as school subjects, computers, language or other talents), they still need their support.
But the ways parents provide support needs to shift. By changing how we support kids, they learn to take initiative, solve problems and be responsible—all critical parts of growing up.
“Support” can sometimes mean different things. Our definition focuses on the practical or noticeable things we do for our young person: how to help them complete tasks and achieve goals. It involves four actions:
We can support young people by giving them feedback and information, taking action to help them when needed, and standing up for them when necessary. Many of the actions related to expressing care (such as emotional support) can also be considered support.
Support is best when it . . .
FREE DOWNLOAD: Download the free, printable Talk About It Cards! Use them as conversation starters to share family experiences, feelings, and beliefs so families can get to know each other better.
Don’t Forget the Families
Relationships First: Creating Connections the help Young People Thrive
1 Teenagers who face bullying in schools are more likely to do well in the classroom if they have a lot of support from their families and peers. The stress of living in a dangerous neighborhood is reduced when young people have a lot of support from parents. Children who use special education services depend on their parents to speak up for their needs and strengths. High levels of parental (and other) support is associated with lower levels of depression and a higher quality of life among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.