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Protective Factors November 16, 2012. Children and Youth of Today Children are exposed to more today than ever before. ACES – Adverse Childhood Events.

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Presentation on theme: "Protective Factors November 16, 2012. Children and Youth of Today Children are exposed to more today than ever before. ACES – Adverse Childhood Events."— Presentation transcript:

1 Protective Factors November 16, 2012

2 Children and Youth of Today Children are exposed to more today than ever before. ACES – Adverse Childhood Events Study - 2008 national study of children exposed to violence. Over 60% of children are exposed to some type of violence. Bullying, Community Violence, Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence, Child Abuse and Neglect, Sexual Abuse, Teen Dating Violence

3 Technology and Media Violent images are more prevalent and available than ever before. Children and Youth become desensitized to violence because of high levels of exposure. High level of violence in the community along with exposure to violence leads to increased numbers of traumatized children.

4 What is Child Abuse? Physical Abuse – any act which, regardless of intent, results in a non-accidental physical injury or threat of injury. Physical Neglect – the failure to provide for a child’s physical survival needs to the extent that there is harm or risk of harm to the child’s health or safety.

5 What is Child Abuse? Sexual Abuse – acts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of minors. Emotional/Mental Abuse - chronic pattern of behaviors such as verbal assaults and/or consistent failure to provide a child with appropriate support, attention, and affection.

6 Risk Factors for Parents Immaturity and unrealistic expectations by the parent Unmet emotional needs of the parent Stresses of child care Economic crisis Domestic violence Lack of parenting knowledge Stressful relationships Depression or other mental health problems Drug or alcohol problems Special Needs Child Isolation History of maltreatment as a child

7 Characteristics of At Risk Children Acting Out Behaviors Aggressive Defiant Disrespectful Impulsive Low Self-Esteem Poor Health Poor Social Skills Poor School Performance Regressed Behaviors Truancy Withdrawn

8 Protective Factors Protective Factors were developed to help families from a strengths based approach. Parents identify and build on their own strengths to enhance their parenting. Children can enhance their protective factors as well. Empathy is a critical component to a child’s success.

9 Empathy Empathy is the ability to imagine yourself in another person’s place and understand the other person’s feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. Empathy for another person opens the door to deeper understanding and connection. Empathy can help a child feel understood. Empathy is key to Social and Emotional Competence of the Child.

10 Working with Families Once you have identified a family is at risk for child maltreatment, you can offer support and provide tools that will enhance their parenting. Some families require more professional intervention such as Child Protective Services. Greater Richmond SCAN, ChildSavers, RBHA and Rubicon. are additional examples of local service providers that work with families who are at risk. However, as a community, there are several steps you can take to strengthen a family’s protective factors.

11 Nurturing and Attachment Definition: Parents have a close bond with their children which helps them to better understand, respond to and communicate with their children. This is critical for young children – babies need to be nurtured and attached to a caregiver. Model appropriate nurturing techniques such as holding the baby, making eye contact with the baby and talking with the baby. Encourage family to continue nurturing child as he grows older such as holding hands, reading stories together with child on lap, giving physical praise such as a hug or high five when child accomplishes something. Help families understand that babies cannot be spoiled during the first year of life and that gentle physical contact is important.

12 Nurturing and Attachment How do you attend to your child? How do you respond to your child? How do you display affection? How do you recognize accomplishments?

13 Knowledge of Parenting and of Child/Youth Development Knowledge changes over time – research, social expectations, social structures and laws all influence these changes. It is impossible for any parent to know everything there is to know about parenting and child development but it is important to know major child development milestones and have some tools in their parenting tool kit for love, structure, discipline, communication, etc... For example, it is important for a parent to know that they want to parent in a way that will encourage open communication with her child and foster independence. Simple handouts and references for child development milestones is a great way to foster this protective factor. is an excellent online resource. Hosting parenting workshops and having parenting library is another great tool.

14 Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development How do you view your role as a parent? How do you encourage positive behavior and model appropriate behavior. What do you know about child development? How do you encourage healthy development?

15 Parental Resilience Definition: Parents have flexibility and inner strength necessary to bounce back when things are not going well. Provide stable, supportive, and nurturing relationships with the child and family. Give support and encouragement to child and family. Encourage child to develop a hobby or special interest that will foster positive self-esteem. Encourage child and family to reach out to others for support – make referrals as needed. Provide child and family with opportunities to make decisions and model healthy decision making skills. Encourage humor as a natural coping style. Be honest with child and family. Do not ignore child’s or family’s experiences because they are difficult or uncomfortable.

16 Parental Resilience What are your coping strengths? What are your stressors? How does stress impact your parenting?

17 Social Connections Definition: Parents with a network of emotionally supportive friends, family and neighbors often find it easier to care for their children and themselves. Church is often the cornerstone of social connections for the community – make sure there is something for everyone. A young single mother may not feel comfortable attending a parenting workshop with 2 parent families. Explore options and be creative in reaching out to everyone. MOPS, Mocha Moms, Circle of Parents are all great groups for parents of young children. Important to nurture adults as individuals - not just as parents. Can church offer babysitting service one evening so parents can worship, take a class or share a meal without their children? We are social beings – parenting in isolation is very difficult.

18 Social Connections Who is your current support system? What are some things you enjoy doing? What do your friends do with their children? Are you parenting similar to others around you?

19 Concrete Support for Parents Families who can meet their own basic needs are better able to ensure their children’s safety and well- being. Examples of concrete supports: adequate housing, food, clothing, transportation along with access to appropriate mental health, medical and dental care. Food cupboards, clothing closets, assistance with transportation are all tangible needs that families require. Having a directory of services to go to helps – use or call 211.

20 Concrete Supports What are your immediate needs? Do you know how to access services? Are your children’s needs met on a consistent basis? Who do you turn to in times of crisis?

21 Social and Emotional Competence of Child Definition: Children’s emerging ability to interact positively with others, self-regulate their behavior, and effectively communicate their feelings has a positive impact on their relationships with their family, other adults, and peers. Teach children a feelings vocabulary and use it properly. Model expected behaviors and be diligent about behavior in your classroom. Use art and play as means for expression. Have materials available for parents so they can determine if their child is developing appropriately.

22 Social and Emotional Competence of the Child Do you think your child interacts positively with others? Do others agree with you? Can your child regulate him/her self to appropriate degree? How does your child communicate his/her feelings? How do you communicate your feelings?

23 General Suggestions for Working with At Risk families Remember to be a role model – we never know when what we say and what we do may have a great impact on another. Ask for help. Do not make promises you cannot keep. If abuse is occurring, you cannot promise not to tell anyone or that nothing will happen. You have an obligation to society to take action – to be a steward for that child. Be realistic – both in terms of what you can provide for the family and what the outcomes will be. Find the strengths. We all like to hear what we are doing well. Start with that for families and then, move into gentle suggestions. For example, you are so connected to your children. I love how bonded they are to you. I’m wondering though if you ever feel like you could use a break – maybe 30 minutes or a few hours just for yourself. We have this great mom’s morning out at our church if you are interested. Stay involved. At risk families will not become safe, stable and nurturing families overnight. Be prepared to stay involved as you can with the family. Have healthy boundaries. If you exhaust yourself or put yourself in difficult financial situations, you are no longer as effective as you were. It is appropriate to say no at times.

24 Helpful Resources Denise Noble, 257-7226,,

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