This report presents the findings of a study of 1,085 U.S. parenting adults of 3 to 13 year olds that explored how families experience developmental relationships, how experiences of developmental relationships vary among different families, the extent to which developmental relationships contribute to children’s development and well-being across different types of families and circumstances, everyday interactions in families that facilitate (or interfere with) developmental relationships, strategies that hold promise for engaging families through a focus on developmental relationships, and what families can do together to enhance their developmental relationships. Findings indicate at least seven out of ten parenting adults with children ages 3 to 13 reported that they take the following essential actions in their relationships with children frequently and effectively: Express Care, Provide Support, and Challenge Growth. The two remaining essential actions are taken less often and less effectively: Share Power and Expand Possibility. The study also found developmental relationships were less common for: older children, parenting adults who are stepparents, boys compared to girls, and families that have financial struggles. It proposes six shifts that are needed in the approaches taken to recognize and engage with families as important actors and full partners in nurturing key character strengths and supporting children’s successes in school and life. Tips are and relationship-building activities for families are then offered as a way for schools, organizations, and coalitions to implement the shifts. Numerous references.
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