What makes YOUR family strong?

Life can be stressful, and parenting can be tough. How do you face the challenges of life and parenting?

Protective Factors are characteristics that help families stay strong so that they are better able to face challenges and thrive. There are five major protective factors:

  • Parental Resilience
  • Social Connections
  • Knowledge of Parenting
  • Concrete Support in Times of Need
  • Children’s Social and Emotional Competence

In the sections below, you can learn about each protective factor, think about the strengths you already have, and get some ideas for how you can build more strengths in your family.


Parent Resilience

Having resilience means being flexible, managing stress in healthy ways and giving yourself permission to make mistakes. It’s your ability to function well even when you’re faced with challenges.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Where do you draw your strength? How does this help you in parenting?
  • What are your dreams for yourself and family?
  • What kind of worries and frustrations do you deal with during the day? How do you solve them?
  • How are you able to meet your children’s needs when you are stressed?
  • How does your spouse, partner, or closest friend support you? When you’re stressed, what is most helpful?
  • What do you do to take care of yourself when you are stressed?

Some ways to build Parental Resilience:

● take care of yourself ● develop healthy coping strategies ● create balance in your life ● don’t dwell on the past ● remind yourself of your strengths ● believe in yourself ●


Social Connections

All parents need support. All humans need connection. Having social connections means having positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental and spiritual support.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have friends or family members that help you out once in a while?
  • Are you a member of any groups or organizations?
  • Who can you call for advice or just to talk? How often do you see them?
  • Do you find it easy or challenging to make friends? What specific things represent a barrier for you?
  • What helps you feel connected?

Some ways to build Social Connections:

● have get-togethers ● volunteer in your community ● call someone when you’re stressed ● be a good listener ● join a parent group ●  ● participate in community events ●


Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development

Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. Having knowledge of parenting and child development means understanding child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development in your kids.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What does your child do best and what do you like about your child?
  • What do you like about parenting? What do you find challenging about parenting?
  • How have you learned about parenting skills?
  • How do you continue to learn about your child’s development?
  • What has helped you learn about yourself as a parent?
  • Are there things that worry you about your child’s development or behavior?

     Some ways to build Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development:

● go to a parenting class ● always provide unconditional love ● read to your children ● join a parent group ● choose trustworthy internet sources ● spend time playing with children ●


Concrete Support in Times of Need

We all need a little help sometimes. Having concrete support in times of need means being able to access support and services when you need them.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Have you ever had a time when you struggled to afford food, keep your job, get child care, pay your heating bill, etc.?
  • What have you done (or what would you do) to handle the problem?
  • How easy is it for you to ask for help? Why?
  • Are there specific barriers that have made it difficult for you to access services in the past?

     Some ways to build Concrete Support in Times of Need:

●  don’t be afraid to ask for help ● give help to others when they need it ● know the resources in your community ● know that you are not alone ● take a deep breath ●


Children’s Social and Emotional Competence

To become successful people, kids need to learn to communicate clearly, deal with their emotions, and get along well with others. Children build these important skills through interactions with their family and with other people in their lives.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How is the emotional relationship between you and your child?
  • How do you express love and affection to your child?
  • How do you help your child express his or her emotions?
  • In what situations are your child’s emotions hard for you to deal with?

     Some ways to build Children’s Social and Emotional Competence:

● spend quality time with your children ● read together ● encourage and praise your kids ● believe in trial and error ● teach kids about their feelings ● model good behavior ●


Protective Factors Trainings

If you are a professional who works with families in Arizona and would like to attend or host a training about the Protective Factors, please contact Michelli Castaneda, Strengthening Families Program Manager, at Michelli@pcaaz.org. The Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework was developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Trust Foundation. For more information on the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework, please visit www.strengtheningfamilies.net