Family Safety – Advice For Parents

Strong-FamilyThese tips were created with information from experts in national organizations that work to prevent child maltreatment and promote well-being, including the Strengthening Families Initiatives in New Jersey, Alaska, and Tennessee. Click here to download a copy.

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month, a time to recognize that we each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in our communities.

Every family has strengths, and every family faces challenges. When you are under stress—the car breaks down, you or your partner lose a job, a child’s behavior is difficult, or even when the family is experiencing a positive change, such as moving into a new home—sometimes it takes a little extra help to get through the day. Families that eat together tend to have youth that are less likely to smoke, drink, or abuse drugs.

Protective factors are the strengths and resources that families draw on when life gets difficult. Building on these strengths is a proven way to keep the family strong and prevent child abuse and neglect. These tips describes six key protective factors and some simple ways you can build these factors in your own family.

coming out as a teenProtective Factor and What It Means

Nurturing and Attachment: Our family shows how much we love each other.

What Can You Do

  1. Take time at the end of each day to connect with your children with a hug, a smile, a song, or a few minutes of listening and talking.
  2. Find ways to engage your children while completing everyday tasks (meals, shopping, driving in the car). Talk about what you are doing, ask them questions, or play simple games (such as “I spy”).

Protective Factor and What It Means

Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: I know parenting is part natural and part learned. I am always learning new things about raising children and what they can do at different ages.

What Can You Do

  1. Explore parenting questions with your family doctor, your child’s teacher, family, or friends.
  2. Subscribe to a magazine, website, or online newsletter about child development.
  3. Take a parenting class at a local community center (these often have sliding fee scales).
  4. Sit and observe what your child can and cannot do.
  5. Share what you learn with anyone who cares for your child.

Protective Factor and What It Means

Parental Resilience: I have courage during stress and the ability to bounce back from challenges.

What You Can Do

  1. Take quiet time to re-energize: Take a bath, write, sing, laugh, play, drink a cup of tea.
  2. Do some physical exercise: Walk, stretch, do yoga, lift weights, dance.
  3. Share your feelings with someone you trust.
  4. Surround yourself with people who support you and make you feel good about yourself.

Protective Factor and What It Means

Social Connections: I have friends, family, and neighbors who help out and provide emotional support.

What You Can Do

  1. Participate in neighborhood activities such as potluck dinners, street fairs, picnics, or block parties.
  2. Join a playgroup or online support group of parents with children at similar ages.
  3. Find a church, temple, or mosque that welcomes and supports parents.

Protective Factor and What It Means

Strenthening-Families-Web-Ad-winter-2015Concrete Supports for Parents: Our family can meet our day-to-day needs, including housing, food, health care, education, and counseling. I know where to find help if I need it.

What You Can Do

  1. Make a list of people or places to call for support.
  2. Ask the director of your child’s school to host a Community Resource Night, so you (and other parents) can see what help your community offers.
  3. Dial “2-1-1” to find out about organizations that support families in your area.
  4. Look for afterschool programs to keep your child busy and in a safe place after school especially if you are working parent and need a fun physical and academic activities for your children or youth to stay busy.

Protective Factor and What It Means

Social and Emotional Competence of Children: My children know they are loved, feel they belong, and are able to get along with others.

What You Can Do

  1. Provide regular routines, especially for young children. Make sure everyone who cares for your child is aware of your routines around mealtimes, naps, and bedtime.
  2. Talk with your children about how important feelings are.
  3. Teach and encourage children to solve problems in age-appropriate ways.
  4. Look for classes for your children or youth that may help them learn new skills such as how to cope with anger or disappointment or gain self-esteem.

Real-Deal-Web-Ad-2015

 

These tips were created with information from experts in national organizations that work to prevent child maltreatment and promote well-being, including the Strengthening Families Initiatives in New Jersey, Alaska, and Tennessee. Click here to download a copy.

Salt Lake County Youth Services offers counseling and classes for youth and their families who are struggling or who are in need of treatment. If you or a youth you know are seeking professional help please contact Youth Services at 385-468-4500, visit our website www.youth.slco.org for more information.

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This entry was posted in Child Abuse, Communication Tips, Parenting Tips, Safe Place, SLCO, Teen Counseling, Treatment, Youth Groups. Bookmark the permalink.

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