Children and youth growing up in political violence and displacement have urgent needs to connect with others and to influence the course of their own and others' development. In that process, language is a major relational and developmental tool, especially with positive engagement in collectives addressing bad situations. This article presents a relational theory of development in practice-based research, focusing on the concepts “relational imagining” and “relational complexity”, illustrated with examples of young people's language use to make sense of war-affected environments in ex-Yugoslavia and Colombia. In those and other challenging and rapidly changing environments, dynamic storytelling workshops involved a range of narratives and other expressive media for individual and collective purposes to foster child, youth, and societal understandings and development. The theory-based relational research and practice design with dynamic storytelling illustrates processes and findings of child-society interactions during and after violent and rapid societal change.

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