The recent Don’t Forget the Families study from Search Institute highlights the power of family relationships as a critical, but often neglected, factor in the development of character strengths in children.
Too many family engagement efforts are about getting families to support what an institution does, like a school or youth program, and overlook the one thing about which parents care deeply and that can powerfully benefit their children’s development: relationships in the home.
Six shifts are recommended in the approaches used to engage with families as partners in nurturing key character strengths and supporting children’s success in school and life. These shifts call leaders in organizations, communities, and nations to:
- Listen first to families rather than just developing and sending messages that don’t resonate or motivate.
- Focus on building relationships with families, rather than only providing programs.
- Highlight families’ strengths, even amid challenges, rather than adopting and designing approaches based on negative stereotypes.
- Encourage families to experiment with new practices that fit their lives, rather than giving them expert advice on what they need to do.
- Emphasize parenting as a relationship more than a set of techniques.
- Broaden coalitions focused on young people’s success to actively engage families as a focal point for strengthening developmental relationships.
Search Institute has many resources that emphasize how to put research into action with helpful, useful, and timely information that addresses the challenges facing kids and parents alike. During the month of November, all of our easy-to-use tools to help parent educators and families build relationships are discounted in the Search Institute Store. Take 15% off* everything in our Parent Resources category, including our popular parent engagement kits and collections.
*Discount automatically applied at checkout.