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“Preparing all children and youth to live productive and fulfilling lives is a critical responsibility and opportunity for society. Thanks in part to a recent movement for collective impact, schools, programs, and entire communities are increasingly working together to achieve that objective.” This article is an excerpt taken from the Search Institute study titled ‘Don’t Forget the Families, the missing piece in America’s effort to help all children succeed’. This information is from the Summary of Key Findings for that study.

“Based on a study of 1,085 U.S. parenting adults of 3- to 13- year-olds, Don’t Forget the Families makes the case that strengthening family relationships is a critical but undervalued strategy for helping children learn and grow up successfully. It introduces a framework of developmental relationships, which articulates concrete actions that families can intentionally embrace and consistently practice that help children develop the character strengths they need as they grow up. In the process, this report offers a fresh, potentially powerful approach to unleashing the capacities of families to be more active contributors to the schools, organizations, and communities that serve their children.

What are developmental relationships? Developmental relationships are close connections through which young people develop the character strengths to discover who they are, gain the ability to shape their own lives, and learn how to interact with and contribute to others. These relationships are characterized by five essential actions, each of which is described from the perspective of a young person:

1. Express Care: Show that you like me and want the best for me.

2. Challenge Growth: Insist that I try to continuously improve.

3. Provide Support: Help me complete tasks and achieve goals.

4. Share Power: Hear my voice and let me share in making decisions.

5. Expand Possibility: Expand my horizons and connect me to opportunities.

If you are interested in learning more about the Search Institute’s findings, please visit the following websites: http://www.search-institute.org/ and http://www.parentfurther.com/

Reporting like this is brought to you by a staff of experienced local journalists committed to telling the stories of your community. Support from subscribers is vital to continue our mission.

Kaye Frataccia is the program manager for Around the Table. This column solely represents the writer’s opinion.


Annette is Porter County Community Coordinator for The Times. She has been with the paper for 20 years. A resident of Hobart, she graduated from Purdue University with degrees in English and German.