Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

April 2016Vol. 17, No. 2Developmental Relationships in Families

To highlight the importance of developmental relationships in improving outcomes for children and families, the Search Institute developed Don't Forget the Families: The Missing Piece in America's Effort to Help All Children Succeed. Developmental relationships help young people gain the psychological and social skills essential for life success. The report describes the following five essential actions in the developmental relationship framework, as described from young people's perspective, and how they impact children and families:

  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.

The report features a chapter meant to be used as a stand-alone resource for parents, which includes tips and concrete activities to help parents build their family's developmental relationships in the five essential action categories. It also includes a study of more than 1,000 parents of children ages 3 through 13 that explores developmental relationships in their families. Additionally, the report provides strategies for schools, organizations, and communities to work with families and assist them in enhancing their developmental relationships.

To view the report, visit