Stressful family events can have a lasting impact on a child. Whether a family is going through economic hardship, divorce, or a death in the family, it is important to help children through stressful life events, so they have a healthy outlook of those types of situations. In recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, this blog discusses several protective factors to help support and strengthen families with minor children during stressful life events. These protective factors are recognized by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Nurturing and Attachment
Parents must already endure the stress of working and taking care of their children. However, when an additional stressful life event occurs, it can be difficult to juggle responsibilities. Even if a crisis makes it impractical to give your children the same amount of attention you would ordinarily provide, remember that even small acts of affection and support – like a hug, smile, or loving words – can go a long way for a minor child.
Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
When parents are aware of the ordinary course of child development, they are better situated to respectfully communicate with their kids and provide regular rules, consistent expectations, and opportunities that promote independence during adulthood. Parents who are not attuned to their children’s stages of development might be unprepared to respond to behavioral changes appropriately. Parents might interpret ordinary development negatively and become frustrated. Parents should continue to learn and understand the developmental phases of a child, so they can respond in a nurturing manner that fosters support and growth.
A parent’s ability to identify and cope with stressors is important to a child’s development as it provides them with a model for coping with their stress. Coping with stress includes knowing when to ask for help during challenging times. As a result, children can learn critical problem-solving skills and emotional regulation.
Parents who have a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family, and community typically have an easier time caring for their children. This ties into the parental resilience factor as an emotionally supportive network of social contacts demonstrates to children the benefits of a friendly community when encountering stressful events and dilemmas.
Concrete Support for Families
When a family can secure basic needs – such as food, shelter, and transportation – they have more opportunities to focus their attention and affection on children. Without stable resources for basic needs, a family might be ill-equipped to confront a major crisis – such as natural disasters or the loss of a family member – and consequently risk foregoing their children’s developmental needs.
Social and Emotional Competence of Children
As children develop, so does their ability to form healthy relationships and interact with others using more effective means of communication. As a result, parents will have an easier time nurturing their children when they need something. However, when a child’s ability to form meaningful relationships and interactions with people is impaired, identifying the child’s needs and fostering healthy emotional development becomes difficult, increasing the risk of neglect and abuse.
The Law Office of Russell S. Hershkowitz Has Your Child’s Best Interests at Heart
When a family is going through a stressful event or crisis – from divorce to adoptions – the law recognizes the resulting potential hazards a developing child can face. That is why family law matters involving minor children – such as divorce and child custody issues – are primarily concerned with factors that relate to the best interests of a child. At the Law Office of Russell S. Herschkowitz, our legal team is dedicated to finding a fair resolution to your family law issues, so your children’s best interests are protected.
Call the Law Office of Russell S. Hershkowitz at (407) 753-4111 or contact us online for a free initial consultation today.