Everyone agrees that building relationships with kids is important. But how do you know if you’re doing it right?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, February 20, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — In a recently released TEDx Talk, Kent Pekel, President and CEO of Search Institute describes how their research into the “black box” of relationships shows how some relationships can be transformational in kids’ lives, while others are not. Drawing from experiences and data from thousands of youth and adults across the United States, they have found that strong, positive relationships, which they call “developmental relationships,” allow young people to develop social and emotional strengths and protect them in the face of challenges.

As Pekel tells the audience, “Relationships in kids’ lives are like the roots of a tree. When kids have strong roots, they can grow, they can thrive, they can withstand the storms that life throws at them. But nonetheless a lot of kids are growing up like trees in soil that is not rich, that even has toxins in it. Where they are not surrounded by those relationships that they need to thrive.”

Developmental relationships contain five essential elements that help kids be and become their best selves:
• Expressing Care – Show me that I matter to you.
• Providing Support – Push me to keep getting better.
• Challenging Growth – Help me complete tasks and achieve goals.
• Sharing Power – Treat me with respect and give me a say.
• Expanding Possibilities – Connect me with people and places that broaden my world.

The goal is not just a nice relationship, it’s a developmental relationship, says Pekel.

Search Institute’s research has found that 1 in 5 young people report having no developmental relationships at all, which is why Search Institute has created professional education and tools to improve those relationships, such as the 4S Interview Tool (available here: https://www.search-institute.org/tedx)

Research shows that young people who experience a variety of developmental relationships –with family, teachers and other adults– are more likely to show signs of positive development in several areas, including:

• Increased academic motivation
• Increased social-emotional learning and growth
• Increased sense of personal responsibility
• Reduced engagement in a variety of high-risk behaviors

To learn more about developmental relationships and how to build them, visit https://www.search-institute.org/developmental-relationships/developm … framework/

You can find Kent Pekel’s TEDx Talk here: https://www.search-institute.org/tedx

CONTACT:
Mary Shrader
612-692-5526

Search Institute works to create research based tools to help youth serving organizations, schools, parents and communities to improve youth outcomes, and has been for more than 60 years. Their current research focuses on articulating what young people need in relationships in order to discover who they are, cultivate the abilities needed for them to shape their lives, and learn how to engage with and contribute to the world around them. To learn more, visit www.searchinstitute.org.


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