Your family may be spending a lot of extra time together during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is a good time to reflect together on how you can strengthen, reset, or refresh family relationships.

Your Family’s Ups and Downs

Tape sheets of paper together to create a long sheet. Label each sheet for each decade of life of the oldest person in your family. (If the oldest person is 45, you’ll need 5 sheets.) Then work together to write down, draw, or add photos of major events in your family or the world that influenced your family relationships during each of those decades. (The influence could be good or bad.) It could be the addition of a family member, a move, a special time together, or an illness.

Talk as a family about how those times affected your relationships. Look at the five elements of a developmental relationship (below). Which ones were particularly important during those times?

Family Quiz

With other family members, take the Overall Developmental Relationships Short Quiz. As many people in your family can complete the quiz as you’d like. The quiz reflects the five keys to parent- youth relationships shown below. Talk about these five areas to see where you might see them differently. In coming weeks, you’ll explore them all in more detail.

Developmental Relationships

There are five keys to strong relationships between parenting adults and their children or youth, according to Search Institute research. These five keys are:

1. Express care: Show each other that you enjoy being together. Show that you care about things that are important to each other.

2. Challenge growth: Help each other push to be your best, learning from failures and being accountable to stay on track.

3. Provide support: Guide and advocate for each other as you work to overcome obstacles, complete tasks, and achieve goals.

4. Share power: Take each other’s ideas seriously. Work together to solve problems and reach goals.

5. Expand possibilities: Help each other connect with people, ideas, and opportunities that open up new possibilities for the future.

Our Past Our Present  Our Future
What are stories from our grandparents that we most remember? What things are really important to our family? What might our family be doing together in 20 years?
What values have been important to our family for a long time? When are times you've felt close as a family? What made that time special? What do you hope will be the same about our family in the future? What do you hope will be different?

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