Protective Factors: Factors shown through research by the Center for the Study of Social Policy to protect against child abuse and neglect, in addition to promoting optimal child development are:
• Parental resilience – the ability to handle everyday stress and bounce back from all kinds of challenges including the occasional crisis. Examples: learn to recognize stress and its triggers, and find stress management techniques that work for you, such as exercise, music, meditation, or prayer. Get support from family, friends, your faith community, and other community resources when needed.
• Social connections – trusted and caring family and friends who provide emotional support and concrete assistance to parents in facing the daily challenges of raising a family. Examples: join a play group, invite neighbors over for a family game night, or join a church, temple, synagogue, or mosque.
• Concrete support in times of need – basic needs such as housing, food, clothing, transportation, and healthcare, and access to essential services that address family-specific needs. Examples: learn about what help your community offers by attending community events or calling 2-1-1, and make a list of people to call for support.
• Knowledge of parenting and child development – accurate information about raising children and appropriate expectations for their behavior based on their age and level of development. Examples: attend a parenting class, model and encourage appropriate behavior, use positive discipline, and discuss parenting questions with your child’s doctor or teacher or your family and friends.
• Social and emotional competence of children – a child’s ability to interact positively with others, control their own behavior, and effectively communicate their feelings. Examples: encourage your children to talk about how they are feeling and how they can deal with their feelings.