Saying that parenting is a tough job is an understatement. After all, “jobs” are supposed to end when you clock out. And you know perfectly well that being a parent is a round-the-clock proposition, and even the best parents make mistakes and are unsure they’re always doing the right thing.
The truth is that raising people to be the best they can be is hard work. And it SHOULD be hard. It’s the most important job to be done in Nebraska communities, and as a parent, you’re in the thick of it. There’s plenty your community can do to support you to be the parent you want to be. Better still, there’s plenty that you can do to support yourself.
Protective Factors are attributes in families that increase health and well-being. All families have protective factors. You’ve probably heard of “risk factors.” Protective Factors act as a buffer against risk factors are are even more important in predicting positive outcomes for children.
If you look at any strong, healthy family, you will see the Protective Factors. When things are going well we are building the Protective Factors without thinking about it. But like many worthwhile things in life, living all of the Protective Factors takes practice. Basically, this means discovering the best ways to take care of yourself, be a strong parent, and build healthy family relationships.
Protective Factor #4: Social Connections
Social connections are positive relationships that provide emotional support and advice. Parents need friends. Having a network of social connections you can rely on is important for every family. This doesn’t mean that you have to have hundreds of people in your life – just a few people at each level will provide you with people to lean on, learn from and laugh with.
Spend time with people who make you feel good and distance yourself from people who tear you down. Be careful to include people who you trust to tell you the truth, not just to feed your ego. People on your go-to team keep you positive by contributing to you growing stronger, healthier, and more aware. They sometimes make you work to bring out the qualities in you that you value the most.
What social connections look like
- Multiple friendships and supportive relationships with other
- Feeling respected and appreciated
- Accepting help from others, and giving help to others
- Skills for establishing and maintaining connections
Tips for social connections
- Participate in family and neighborhood activities like pot luck dinners, picnics, or community get-togethers
- Join an activity at a local child care or family resource center
- Visit your child’s school resource fairs or attend a parent group meeting