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Children and Youth

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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.

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.

Additional Resources

The Center for Developing Child, Harvard University (link is external) 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.

Positive Parenting Tips (link is external) is a free, online resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that provides guidance for parenting children and youth at each stage of life. Downloadable tip sheets covering infants (0-1) to teenagers (15-17) address developmental milestones, parenting tips, and safety and health. These tips sheets can be printed and shared directly with parents.

What is Complementary Learning (link is external) is a fact sheet from the Harvard Family Research Project. Complementary learning is a comprehensive strategy for addressing educational needs and ensuring success for all children and youth. It incorporates schools, family engagement, out-of-school time activities, early childhood programs, health and social services, and other resources to better ensure that children have the skills they need to succeed.

The Helping Your Child (link is external) 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.