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

Families Connected parenting videos - expert advice in under two minutes from Leah Niehaus, LCSW, and Jennifer Elledge (Barber), MPH, CHES.


You can make a difference — talk with your kids about healthy relationships

Consider sharing our “Healthy Relationships Advice for Teens” 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

Teens, Technology, and Social Media: Is it Time to Examine My Own Habits?, by Kim Digilio

Related Resources on the Families Connected Website

Our Curated Gallery of Resources

Clicking on the logos or images below will take you out of the Families Connected website and into the website of the resource described. Please note that articles listed will include pop-up ads.

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.


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