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How can our family protect my child from potential abuse?

Your family can protect your child from potential abuse by following a model that many groups use to protect children from abuse and build stronger families, by nurturing "protective factors."
  • Nurturing and attachment: Parents and caregivers give affection and nurturing in different ways depending on the needs of the child and how they learned to parent. Consistent positive bonds between children and adults in their lives are important. The impact is most significant for the very youngest children, but caregivers continue to nurture their children throughout their lives.
  • Child’s social and emotional skills: Children count on parents and caregivers to learn about emotions and learn how to relate to others in their lives. These skills are important to protect children from harm.
  • Parental resilience: Parents that can change their attitudes and behaviors for the benefit of their child provide more consistent strength and support. Emotional resilience is a combination of flexibility and strength that can be learned and practiced. Think about a spring that bounces back, or a reed that bends, but does not break under stress.
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development: Every parent or caregiver should become an expert by learning parenting skills, how children grow and change, and about their own child’s unique needs and abilities.
  • Social connections: Building webs of trust with family and friends makes a family stronger and more resilient. Families who struggle need friends, neighbors and other loved ones to help.
  • Support systems for times of need: To provide children with adequate care, families must have their basic needs met in terms of food, clothing, housing and access to other essentials (transportation, child care, medical attention). When families struggle to meet those needs, community and social resources can help.
It is useful to think of the factors that protect a child from abuse and neglect as a series of barriers, with the child on the inside, society at-large on the outside, and in between, families and other social systems that impact a child’s life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.