What Makes Your Family Strong

By: Sarah Meikle/

What Makes your Family Strong

Strengthening Families through The Five Protective Factors

shadow-family-3-pixabayOur next three Parent Network Meetings will be centered around the Strengthening Families Framework and the Five Protective Factors that make your family strong. We encourage you to register for all three sessions, to get a better understanding of the Strengthening Families framework.The first two will be focused on the 5 protective factors and how you can incorporate them into your life to help strengthening you and your family. Our final session will be a Parent Café, which we are excited to introduce as a possible recurring program. The parent Cafés are a great way to sort of vent and hear other parents strengths and struggles and to support one another in being the best parents we can be. It’s very laid back, no judgment zone. We simply pick a topic and go around discussing our thoughts on that topic.The topics that we choose will all relate back to one of the Five Protective Factors we learned about in the first two sessions. Anyone and everyone can benefit from these sessions.

5-protective-factors-hand-posterWhat are the five protective factors and how can knowing them help your family through times of crisis and stress as well as continue to thrive during the good times? Life can be difficult at times. Unforeseen circumstances like job loss, divorce, death in the family or even abuse can be stressful for families and detrimental in the development of a young child. As parents/caregivers it is our job to learn how to work through the everyday stressors and be the best parents we can be. Sometimes we can’t do it alone. That’s why having the resources and tools to help you through it are very important. Here’s where The Five Protective Factors come in. The Five Protective Factors help build family strengths and environment which promotes optimal child development. Lets break them down.

Parental Resilience – No one can eliminate stress from parenting, but building parental resilience can affect how a parent deals with stress. Parental resilience is the ability to constructively cope with and bounce back from all types of challenges. It is about creatively solving problems, building trusting relationships, maintaining a positive attitude, and seeking help when it is needed.

Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development – Having accurate information about raising young children and appropriate expectations for their behavior help parents better understand and care for children. It is important that information is available when parents need it, that is, when it is relevant to their life and their child. Parents whose own families used harsh discipline techniques or parents of children with developmental or behavior problems or special needs require extra support in building this Protective Factor

.Social and Emotional Competence of Children – A child’s ability to interact positively with others, to self-regulate, and to effectively communicate his or her emotions has a great impact on the parent-child relationship. Children with challenging behaviors are more likely to be abused, so early identification and working with them helps keep their development on track and keeps them safe. Also, children who have experienced or witness violence need a safe environment that offers opportunities to develop normally.

Social Connections – Friends, family members, neighbors, and other members of a community provide emotional support and concrete assistance to parents. Social connections help parents build networks of support that serve multiple purposes: they can help parents develop and reinforce community norms around childrearing, provide assistance in times of need, and serve as a resource for parenting information or help solving problems. Because isolation is a common risk factor for abuse and neglect, parents who are isolated need support in building positive friendships.

Concrete Support in Times of Need – Parents need access to the types of concrete supports and services that can minimize the stress of difficult situations, such as a family crisis, a condition such as substance abuse, or stress associated with lack of resources. Building this Protective Factor is about helping to ensure the basic needs of a family, such as food, clothing, and shelter, are met and connecting parents and children to services, especially those that have a stigma associated with them, like domestic violence shelter or substance abuse counseling, in times of crisis.

We hope to see all of you at our next three Parent Network Meetings You can Click Here to register.

If you would like more information about The Five Protective Factors visit www.whatmakesyourfamilystrong.org


Sarah Meikle is a Parent Liaison for Lenawee Great Start. She was raised in Adrian where she attended Madison Schools. She now resides in Tecumseh with her husband Andrew and two children, Camden and Kaylee.

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