Protective factors are conditions in families and communities that, when present, increase the health and well-being of children and families. They are attributes that serve as buffers, helping parents who might otherwise be at risk of abusing their children to find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress. Research has shown that these protective factors are linked to a lower incidence of child abuse and neglect.
A child�s early experience of being nurtured and developing a bond with a caring adult affects all aspects of behavior and development. When parents and children have strong, warm feelings for one another, children develop trust that their parents will provide what they need to thrive, including love, acceptance, positive guidance, and protection. Read more at
Discipline is both more effective and more nurturing when parents know how to set and enforce limits and encourage appropriate behaviors based on the child�s age and level of development. Parents who understand how children grow and develop can provide an environment where children can live up to their potential. Child abuse and neglect are often associated with a lack of understanding of basic child development or an inability to put that knowledge into action. Timely mentoring, coaching, advice, and practice may be more useful to parents than information alone. Read more at Parent & Child Development
Resilience is the ability to handle everyday stressors and recover from occasional crises. Parents who are emotionally resilient have a positive attitude, creatively solve problems, effectively address challenges, and are less likely to direct anger and frustration at their children. In addition, these parents are aware of their own challenges�for example, those arising from inappropriate parenting they received as children�and accept help and/or counseling when needed. Read more at Parental Resilience
Evidence links social isolation and perceived lack of support to child maltreatment. Trusted and caring family and friends provide emotional support to parents by offering encouragement and assistance in facing the daily challenges of raising a family. Supportive adults in the family and the community can model alternative parenting styles and can serve as resources for parents when they need help. Read more at Strengthen Social Connections
Many factors beyond the parent-child relationship affect a family�s ability to care for their children. Parents need basic resources such as food, clothing, housing, transportation, and access to essential services that address family-specific needs (such as child care and health care) to ensure the health and well-being of their children. Some families may also need support connecting to social services such as alcohol and drug treatment, domestic violence counseling, or public benefits. Providing or connecting families to the concrete supports that families need is critical. These combined efforts help families cope with stress and prevent situations where maltreatment could occur. Read more at Strengthen Concrete Support System
Like learning to ride a bicycle, they must respond appropriately to any missteps that may lead to falling; the same holds true for a child responding to social situations with the right tools for healthy emotional expression. Parents are better able to respond to his or her needs when the child's emotional response is balanced, this in turn strengthens the parent-child relationship. When a child's age, disability, or other factors affect his or her needs and the child is incapable of expressing those needs, it can cause parental stress and frustration. Developing emotional self-regulation is important for children's relationships with family, peers, and others. Read more at Resources to Strengthen Social and Emotional Competence of Children
National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds. (2011). Parent ambassadors: A parent's guide to participation using the strengthening families approach. Retrieved from http://www.ctfalliance.org/images/pdfs/TN_ParentGuide.pdf (PDF - 1823 KB).
The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning. (2010). Teaching your child to identify and express emotions. Retrieved from http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/documents/teaching_emotions.pdf (PDF - 2774 KB).
ZERO TO THREE. Tips on nurturing your child's social-emotional development. Retrieved from http://main.zerotothree.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ter_key_social_socemottips&AddInterest=1157
Steps to preventing Child Abuse & Neglect; April is child abuse prevention month Steps to prevention abuse / April Child Abuse Prevention Month Part 1
Power Packed with 14 Parent tip sheets compiled from Preventing Child Maltreatment and Promoting Well-Being: A Network for Action 2013 Resource Guide are designed for service providers to distribute to parents and caregivers to address a particular parenting concern or question. The information is easy to read and focuses on concrete strategies parents and caregivers can use to take care of their children and strengthen their families.
We encourage you to make copies of the tip sheets that are most useful to the families with whom you work.
Parent Tip Sheets
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