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EXTERNAL BUILDING BLOCKS

FOR HEALTHY CHILD DEVELOPMENT

SUPPORT

The first External Building Block is Support. However, your child will not become a healthy, caring and responsible adult on their own. They need assistance, encouragement, discipline, and training. Most importantly, they need to observe other healthy, caring and responsible adults—up close and on a daily basis.

Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” That principle extends beyond wisdom. Walk with the confident and become confident. Walk with the caring and become caring.

There are six assets that can create Support in your child’s life: Family Support, Positive Family Communication, Other Adult Relationships, a Caring Neighborhood, a Caring School Climate, and Parent Involvement in Schooling.

Family Support

Family Support is an integral portion of Support. Beyond this, it is a solid foundation to build upon. Initially, God established Support in the second chapter of the Bible. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). In other words, Family Support is as important to your child today as it was to Adam in the Garden of Eden.

Family Support can take many different forms, including

Above all, Family Support means making sure that you’re aware of and present for the important moments of their life. You may not always be able to be physically present, but you can make your presence known through texts, phone calls, Facetime and written notes.

Finally, the earlier your child becomes aware of their family support, the more of an impact it will have on their life. These are the building blocks of Support!

Positive Family Communication

In Ephesians 6:4, the Apostle Paul instructs parents to raise our children in the training and instruction of the Lord. Achieving Support can’t be done without Positive Family Communication. In other words, establishing Support begins with keeping the lines of communication with your child open. Most importantly, maintain trust, honesty and openness in your relationship. Your child needs to feel comfortable about coming to you with their problems, concerns and questions.

In addition, Positive Family Communication involves both speaking and listening. One of the most valuable gifts of Support you can give your child is your undivided attention. When they open up to you, resist the urge to correct, give advice or try to solve their problems. Instead, just listen.

Also, your child needs to know that they can trust you to tell them the truth. Furthermore, this means when that truth is hard to hear. Truth spoken in love can be a powerful motivator. Support can involve Positive Family Communication such as inside jokes and daily chatter around the dinner table. Develop mutual Support by showing your child the value of connecting with others through conversation.

Other Adult Relationships

Few things make a child feel more important than seeing people they know and love during a game, concert, or performance. In other words, the feeling of importance comes from knowing that people Support them.

Showing up for school functions or sporting events is only one way that other adults can impact your child. The right word, spoken at the right time, by the right adult, has the potential to shape the direction of your child’s future. And the right word has the potential to encourage and strengthen your child’s relationship with the Lord. At least, that’s how it works in the Psalms. “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).

Obviously, as a parent, you need to exercise extreme discernment and caution when it comes to the adults you allow into your child’s life. But if you can build a team of people outside of your family, you will provide Support for them that will pay dividends.

Caring Neighborhood

Whether or not you agree that “it takes a village to raise a child,” there’s no denying that a Caring Neighborhood is a tremendous blessing. Support incorporates a variety of elements. Interestingly, It can contain positive influences in your child’s life that come from unexpected sources.

For example, Jesus offered the perfect strategy for creating and nurturing a caring environment close to home: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • Ask the Lord to give you a servant’s heart toward the people in your neighborhood.
  • Step out of your social comfort zone, if you have to. Initiate conversation.
  • Show a genuine interest in people’s lives.
  • Find out how you can help them.
  • Learn the names of their kids.
  • Help the people around you see what a caring neighbor looks like.

Pray that others will do the same. Ask the Lord to connect you with like-minded members of community who have a heart for kids. Create a network of potential influencers for your child close to home.

Caring Climate in School/Daycare/Church

Proverbs 9:9 wasn’t written about a Caring School Climate, but its message certainly applies: “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.” A Caring School Environment gives your child their best opportunity to learn and grow. It’s a place where they feel comfortable, inspired, challenged, understood and appreciated.

Along with Support, creating a Caring School Climate begins with building a support group of caring individuals. Teachers, counselors, other students all can have a positive impact on your child. If you get to know the ones who go the extra mile for the sake of the students, you’ll likely find allies to help your child. These are people your child can go to when they’re being bullied or when they’re struggling in some other way.

Parent Involvement in School/Daycare/Church

In our kids’ hyper-busy culture, their lives can become compartmentalized. What happens at school stays at school. For better or worse. The busier they are, the more compartmentalized things can get. In these times, your kids need Support more than ever. Over time, kids can start to feel isolated in their various compartments, cut off from the people who love and care most about them.

Proverbs 15:20 says, “A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother”. You can help steer your child toward a path of God-honoring wisdom by observing them at school and establishing a relationship with the people who are working to educate them.

In addition to providing Support, you can create remove the barrier between home and school. As your schedule allows, establish a presence in your child’s school. Get to know their teachers by volunteering in the classroom. Interact with administrators and office staff by delivering goodies on a regular basis. Get involved in school and parent organizations. Do what you can to improve the learning environment for your child.

Next Steps for Your Family

Download 8 Building Blocks Printable PDF

Explore the fundamental building blocks for developing healthy qualities in young people. 

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Explore the next External Building Blocks for Healthy Child Development

Support

Empowerment

Boundaries

Constructive Use of Time