Research tells us that having multiple close, meaningful relationships is a key protective factor in keeping kids stay healthy and safe. It is what makes kids more successful in school, have better mental health outcomes, avoid risky activities, and feel happier. The resources on this page are intended to provide parents and caregivers with the insight they need to build a strong parent-child relationship, to foster that connection during the teen years, and to help them build healthy relationships with others.
Families Connected Parent Resources
For parents - videos that provide insight on helping youth build healthy relationships
Expert advice in under two minutes from Leah Niehaus, LCSW, and Jennifer Elledge (Barber), MPH, CHES.
For youth — share this video with your teen and talk with your kids about healthy relationships
Consider sharing our “Healthy Relationships Advice for Teens” and “Healthy Friendships” from Jennifer Elledge with your teen. When sharing, please keep in mind the talking tips provided by the American Psychological Association in the gallery of resources below.
Recommended Families Connected Expert/Parent Blog
The Power of Relationships, by Jennifer Elledge, MPH, CHES
On Being a Mother and a Therapist, by Leah Niehaus, LCSW
Embrace the Pause, by Dr. Nicole Wesley
Related Resources on the Families Connected Website
A Curated Gallery of Resources
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Featured National Article
How to Help Tweens and Teens Manage Social Conflict, New York Times (1/16/19)
Communication tips for parents from the American Psychological Association
Be available for your children
Notice times when your kids are most likely to talk — for example, at bedtime, before dinner, in the car — and be available.
Start the conversation; it lets your kids know you care about what's happening in their lives.
Find time each week for a one-on-one activity with each child, and avoid scheduling other activities during that time.
Learn about your children's interests — for example, favorite music and activities — and show interest in them.
Initiate conversations by sharing what you have been thinking about rather than beginning a conversation with a question.
Connect around the table
Research has confirmed what parents have known for a long time: sharing a family meal is good for the spirit, the brain and the health of all family members. Recent studies link regular family dinners with many behaviors that parents pray for: lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, as well as higher grade-point averages and self-esteem. Click on the logo to access conversation starters and dinner games, download a free guide, and participate in the Family Dinner Project. Additional tips and suggestions for device-free dinners are provided by Common Sense Media.