Children and Youth

Healthy family relationships are vital to every aspect of a child’s life.  We offer tools that help parents build and model strong partnerships, while teaching young people about the importance of healthy relationships.

Healthy relationships are important to a family’s physical, emotional, and financial health. In particular, parents’ relationships can affect children in several important ways:

  • Healthy parenting is one of the strongest predictors of child well-being, child development, and child outcomes.  Parents with healthy couple and co-parenting relationships increase the likelihood that children will be raised in a safe, nurturing, and stable home environment because there is a “spillover effect” where the quality of the couple relationship spills over into the parent-child relationship.
  • Parents serve as role models for children’s relationships. If children are not able to envision a healthy relationship, they are more likely to have greater difficulty navigating their own relationships in the future.  For example, parents who engage in frequent conflicts and have poor coping techniques expose their children to unhealthy relationship behaviors.
A young family with a baby

Learn more about the research on relationship health and child outcomes, as well as strategies for integrating relationship skills into your agency’s current service offerings.

If you are a service provider working with families, consider our free online Parenting course, part of the Core Healthy Marriage and Relationship Skills series in our Virtual Training Center.  This course uses an “inside-out” approach to help you learn techniques and ideas that you can share with clients who want to strengthen their parenting skills.

We offer several free Resource Center products and publications that are designed for agencies looking to strengthen families and promote child well-being:

Browse our Archived Webinars to see presentations from experts in the field on a variety of topics relating to youth and family services.

Want to learn more? Visit our Library for more free children- and family-related resources in a variety of formats. View library resources on youth and families or use the search to find information on a particular topic.

Are you an educator or do you work with youth?  Browse our education resources on using relationship education with youth, teens, and young adults.

Does your agency focus on early childhood education? Our Head Start/Early Learning section has resources for agencies that work with young children and want to support families.

Additional Resources

The Center for Developing Child, Harvard University states that the future of any society depends on its ability to foster the healthy development of the next generation. The website offers brief videos to explain extensive research on how the biology of stress shows that healthy development can be derailed by excessive or prolonged activation of stress response systems in the body (especially the brain), with damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health across the lifespan.

What is Complementary Learning is a free, short publication from the Harvard Family Research Project that gives a quick overview and concrete examples of complementary learning. Complementary learning is a comprehensive strategy for addressing educational needs and ensuring success for all children and youth. Complementary learning is the idea that a systemic approach—which intentionally integrates both school and non-school supports—can better ensure that all children have the skills they need to succeed.

Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers is a free, online resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for parents of 2-4 year olds. This resource addresses common parenting challenges, such as tantrums and whining, and helps parents encourage good behavior using strategies like positive communication, structure and rules, clear directions, and consistent discipline and consequences. This is a great resource to share directly with the parents and families that your agency serves.

The Helping Your Child free publication series from the Department of Education features practical lessons and activities for parents to help their school aged and preschool children master reading, understand the value of homework, and develop the skills and values necessary to achieve and grow. Parental involvement in schools has been shown to decrease youth behavior problems and increase success in school. This is a great resource to share directly with the parents and families that your agency serves.