Discovering Your Family’s Strengths: A ParentFurther Webinar Series from Search Institute

This is a five-part webinar series that examines the practical implications of Search Institute’s framework of Family Assets, or family strengths, based on The American Family Assets Study.

November Webinar: Nurturing Strong Family Relationships During the Teenage Years

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Featuring Jenna Sethi, Ph.D., Research Associate, Search Institute

There’s little doubt that relationships matter in families. They’re the foundation of family strengths. Our family relationships build on how we communicate, show affection, stay emotionally open to each other, and support each other’s deep passions and interests (or "sparks").

When family relationships are going well, we can too easily take them for granted. But when we struggle in these relationships, it can undermine our sense of what it means to be family.

This webinar will begin to explore these issues by addressing several key questions:

  • Are parent relationships still relevant and important when children become teenagers?
  • What do young people say they want in their relationships with their parents? What do parents want in their relationships with their kids?
  • How do parent-child relationships change during the teenage years?
  • What can parents actually do to strengthen relationships during the teenage years?
  • What roles could people who work with families play in strengthening family relationships without seeming intrusive?

Webinar participants will gain new insights about nurturing relationships in families along with some practical ideas for what they can do in their own families or families they work with to be more intentional about nurturing family relationships.

September Webinar: So What Did You Really Expect? Challenging Our Kids to Be Their Best

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What do we expect of each other in our families? When we talk with young people, they often know what their parents expect of them (even if they don’t follow the expectations). But what do we expect from each other that will help our families thrive while also helping our kids develop an “internal compass” that guides them when we’re not around?

This webinar will explore these and other questions, drawing on Search Institute’s research on youth development and family strengths. Participants in the webinar will:

  • Examine the areas where they have (or need) to set clear, consistent expectations in their families.
  • Explore the inevitable tension between establishing challenging expectations and maintaining care and connectedness.
  • Identify strategies to enhance how they set expectations in their families that tie to their priorities, values, and stage of life.
  • Surface concrete ways to work with families to set or reinforce clear, consistent expectations both within the family and in the broader community.

July Webinar: Enriching Families’ Community Connections: A Two-Way Street

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Featuring Hedy Walls, Vice President of Social Responsibility, YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.

Everyone wins when families feel connected to their neighborhood and community resources. When these connections take hold, families find it easier to build relationships and tap into the strengths that they already possess. This webinar, Enriching Families' Community Connections: A Two-Way Street, brings together Search Institute’s research with the practical experience of a seasoned family engagement practitioner to discuss the many upsides of family/community engagement. Through this webinar, participants will learn:

  • The power of community in family life, and how families can build and shape community.
  • The importance of different kinds of community connections and engagement, recognizing that all types of connections are fragile for too many families.
  • The critical need to connect with all families based on their own priorities and capacities, particularly families of color as well as those who do not see themselves as resource rich.
  • How families can strengthen their engagement in community without it becoming a full-time job.
  • How schools and other organizations can redesign family engagement to shift from individual transactions to meaningful transformation for both families and the community.

May Webinar: Routines Don’t Have to Be Ruts: Meaningful Routines for Today’s Complicated Families

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Routines and rituals. We—and our kids—both love them and hate them. They create memories and make life more predictable and stable. Yet they can sometimes feel more like ruts and obligations. Like other research, Search Institute’s American Family Assets Study highlights the power of routines and rituals, such as family meals and traditions, in strengthening families and contributing to young people’s development. By participating in this webinar, you will learn:

  • The important roles that family routines, rituals, and shared experiences play in family and youth well-being, even in the midst of today’s complicated schedules and families.
  • Key elements of positive routines that make a difference for kids and families.
  • Practical ideas to create or enhance family routines and rituals to keep them meaningful as young people grow up.
  • Creative ways that people who work with families can reinforce (or help to foster) family routines and shared activities in ways that enrich family life.

March Webinar: Strengths to Make It Through: How Families Can Grow Together through Everyday Challenges . . . and Big Stuff

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Every family faces challenges, large and small. A key strength in families is to find healthy ways to adapt to challenge and change—and even grow through difficult times. Drawing insights from the American Family Assets Study, this webinar will explore strengths in families that help navigate the ups and downs of life, highlighting family practices that can make a difference. By participating in this webinar, you will learn:

  • The power of cultivating strengths to help your family when facing change and challenges, including insightful research on resilience factors in families dealing with high stress.
  • Everyday family practices that you can cultivate that will help you grow together—rather than grow apart—in the midst of the difficulties.
  • Concrete strategies that people who work with families can use to help them tap their strengths to help them through tough times.

About the Expert

Eugene C. Roehlkepartain is Vice President of Research and Development at Search Institute, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization, where he has worked for more than 20 years. Author or editor of more than 30 books and reports, Roehlkepartain is widely recognized as an expert in child, youth, and family development in community contexts. He holds a doctorate in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction, with a specialization in Family, Youth, and Community from the University of Minnesota.