Here at My Mommy Style, we love talking about being a mom, our individual styles of mothering and how to do simple things each day to strengthen our families. None of us are perfect, of course, and we think motherhood can drive you crazy, and be lots of fun at the same time! I’ve spent a lot of time over the past several years, learning about the 5 Protective Factors and how they relate to every day life as a parent. I’ve worked with many people nationwide, state leaders, counselors, non-profits, and other parents – working to figure out how it all relates to the people that matter the most in the child’s life – the PARENT.
I was recently certified by the ANPPC Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework, to train other people about the protective factors – and I care about this, because I’m excited to bring it to YOU. Usually this kind of information is given to community leaders to HELP the family when they are in crisis, but my goal is to give these tools to parents – so they have the information BEFORE they are in crisis. It is much happier to work from a preventative and strengths based perspective, than to try and fix major problems later in a child’s life.
As you spend time on our blog, you will hear us refer to the protective factors from time to time in individual posts and especially during the Summer Learning Series. I felt like it would be a really FUN way to show how these simple – yet profound – bullet points, can change how a family understands incorporates them, each day.
The protective factors weren’t picked because they sounded logical, they were actually based on a study that was conducted over 30 years with the Center for the Study of Social Policy or (CSSP). They found that if we focused on teaching families these five factors are well established in a family, the likelihood of child abuse and neglect diminishes greatly. Research shows that these protective factors are also “promotive” factors that build families strengths and a family environment that promotes optimal child development.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember them, so we love this image created by our friends in Charlevoix, Emmet, Northern-Antrim Counties.
No one can eliminate stress from parenting, but a parent’s capacity for resilience can affect how a parent deals with stress. Resilience is the ability to manage and bounce back from all types of challenges that emerge in every family’s life. It means finding ways to solve problems, building and sustaining trusting relationships including relationships with your own child, and knowing how to seek help when necessary.
Friends, family members, neighbors and community members provide emotional support, help solve problems, offer parenting advice and give concrete assistance to parents. Networks of support are essential to parents and also offer opportunities for people to “give back”, an important part of self- esteem as well as a benefit for the community. Isolated families may need extra help in reaching out to build positive relationships.
Concrete Support in Times of Need
Meeting basic economic needs like food, shelter, clothing and health care is essential for families to thrive. Likewise, when families encounter a crisis such as domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse, adequate services and supports need to be in place to provide stability, treatment and help for family members to get through the crisis.
Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
Accurate information about child development and appropriate expectations for children’s behavior at every age help parents see their children and youth in a positive light and promote their healthy development. Information can come from many sources, including family members as well as parent education classes and surfing the internet. Studies show information is most effective when it comes at the precise time parents need it to understand their own children. Parents who experienced harsh discipline or other negative childhood experiences may need extra help to change the parenting patterns they learned as children.
Social and Emotional Competence of Children
A child or youth’s ability to interact positively with others, self-regulate their behavior and effectively communicate their feelings has a positive impact on their relationships with their family, other adults, and peers. Challenging behaviors or delayed development create extra stress for families, so early identification and assistance for both parents and children can head off negative results and keep development on track.
As you use this information, I would LOVE to hear your experiences and how they change your life. I know this sounds a little dramatic, but the more time I spend studying these five things – the more I realize they are a part of EVERYTHING I do as a parent. I see this blog as a real life study, of sorts. I don’t have the time or resources to make it into a full blown scientific study – but WE DON’T NEED THAT AS PARENTS! We only need to know it WORKS.