There were 69,069 reports of child abuse and neglect in Oregon last year.
There are several protective factors to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.
Juggling the demands of work, home, and other responsibilities leaves many parents feeling like they do not have nearly enough time with their children. But even a small act of kindness, protection, and caring (a hug, smile, or loving words) make a big difference to children.
Research shows the children who receive affection and nurturing from their parents have the best chance of being happy, healthy, and possess individual-level protective factors such as relational, self-regulation, and problem solving skills. Consistent relationships with caring adults in the early years is associated with better grades, healthier behaviors, more positive peer interactions, and an increased ability to cope with stress later in life.
KNOWLEDGE OF PARENTING AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Parents who understand the usual course of child development are more likely to be able to provide their children with respectful communication, consistent rules and expectations, developmentally appropriate limits, and opportunities that promote independence. When parents are not aware of normal developmental milestones, interpret their child’s behaviors in a negative way, or do not know how to respond to and effectively manage a child’s behavior, they can become frustrated and may resort to harsh discipline. As children grow, parents need to continue to foster their parenting competencies by learning about and responding to children’s emerging needs. Observing other caregivers who use positive techniques for managing children’s behavior provides an opportunity for parents to learn healthy alternatives. Parenting styles need to be adjusted for each child’s unique temperament and circumstances.
Parents who can cope with the stresses of everyday life, as well as an occasional crisis, have resilience--the flexibility and inner strength to bounce back when things are not going well. Parents with resilience also know how to seek help in times of trouble. Multiple life stressors (health problems, marital conflict, substance abuse, financial stress, etc.) can reduce a parent's capacity to cope effectively with the day-to-day stress of raising children. All parents have inner strengths and resources that can serve as a foundation for building their resilience. These may include faith, flexibility, humor, communication and problem-solving skills, caring relationships or outside resources/services when necessary. All of these qualities strengthen us to parent effectively. What helps build resilience in you as a parent? Take 10 minutes to care for yourself today.
Parents with a network of emotionally supportive friends, family, and neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves. Most parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice, or concrete support. Research has shown that parents who are isolated and have few social connections are at a higher risk for child abuse & neglect.
Parent's social interactions also model important relational skills for children and increase the likelihood that children will benefit from involvement in positive activities. Social connections are also very important to children, especially as they grow older.
CONCRETE SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES
Families whose basic needs are met have more time and energy to devote to their children’s safety and well-being. When parents do not have steady financial resources, lack a stable living situation, or face a family health crisis, their ability to support their children’s development may be at risk.
Partnering with parents to identify and access resources in the community may help prevent the stress that sometimes precipitates child maltreatment. Our facility is available to link families with service providers to meet their needs.
SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL COMPETENCE OF CHILDREN
Children’s emerging ability to form bonds and interact positively with others, self-regulate their emotions and behaviors, communicate their feelings, and effectilvley solve problems has a positive impact on their relationships with their family, other adults, and peers. Parents and caregivers grow more responsive to children’s needs—and are less likely to feel stressed or frustrated—as children learn to communicate their needs.
Using both structured curriculum and modeling teaches children to share, be respectful of others, and express themselves through language. Spend time nurturing and communicating with your child to engage their social and emotional development.
It really does take a village to raise a child--parenting is not easy! We are here to help. Together, we can take a stand, be their voice, and advocate for a child.