April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time when we as a Nation recognize how important it is we all play a part in promoting the well-being of children in our homes and communities. Started in April, 1983, as a way to increasing public awareness of the need to ensure the safety and welfare of children, States and communities offer programs and educational opportunities to raise awareness in families about the need to tenderly care for our most precious heritage, our kids.

Families are under tremendous stress nowadays, and sometimes children bear the brunt of an adults anger and frustration. Parents can often lack the skills and tools to be a loving, effective, happy parent because they themselves were never nutured well as children.

There are six protective factors that, when present, help ensure children are in a safe, healthy environment and well cared for. These six skills can be taught to and learned by any willing parent.

First, a child needs to be nurtured and feel attached or bonded with a caring adult. A strong bond affects all aspects of a child’s life and development. A kid that feel abandoned or having to fend for himself will grow up fearful, insecure, experiencing difficulty forming healthy bonds with peers and other adults as he grows.

Second, parents need training and education on child developement. Parents who understand how children grow and develop can provide an environment where children can live up to their potential. 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.

Third, parents need resilience to handle stress and bounce back from set backs. Parents who learn to handle their problems in positive, creative ways are great role models for their children and are less likely to direct their anger toward their kids.

Fourth, parents need social connections to help strengthen them in their tasks as parents. The maxim “it takes a village” is powerfully true. Strong social connections in the community, the church, neighborhood groups can be places of strength and healing for struggling parents.

Fifth,  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.

Sixth, just like learning to walk, talk, or read, children must also learn to identify and express emotions effectively. When a child has the right tools for healthy emotional expression, parents are better able to respond to his or her needs, which strengthens the parent-child relationship.

If we can serve you as a parent in any way, please contact us and let us partner alongside you to become the strong, loving parent you want to be.