Positive youth, families and communities


Communities and families can build positive relationships and environments for children and youth so they grow into healthy and productive citizens.
Promote safe, stable, nurturing families and communities by building:
  • Parental resilience.

  • Parents who can cope with the stresses of everyday life, as well as an occasional crisis, have resilience, they have the flexibility and inner strength necessary to bounce back when things aren't going well.

  • Social connections.

  • Parents with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family, and neighbors often find it easier to care for their children and themselves.

  • Support systems.

  • Such systems can take many different forms depending on the strengths and needs of the family, but their overarching goal is to help parents enhance skills and resolve problems to promote optimal child development.

  • Knowledge of parenting and child development.

  • Accurate information about child development and appropriate expectations for children’s behavior at every age help parents see their children and youth in a positive light and promote their healthy development

  • Social and emotional competence of children.

  • Parents support healthy social and emotional development in children when they model how to express and communicate emotions effectively, self-regulate, and make friends.

Go to the Center for the Study of Social Policy for more information on the Strengthening Families Protective Factor framework.
Go to the Child Welfare Information Gateway for more information on ways to support families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

By creating the context for positive relationships and environments, children and youth are more likely to avoid negative life experiences. These negative life experiences can lead to the perpetration of child abuse and neglect, violence, and increased risk for substance abuse, suicide, and other risky behaviors.

Children with negative or adverse life experiences don't always go on to become violent, abuse drugs, or become suicidal, but the experiences do put them at higher risk. Negative childhood experiences include but aren\'t limited to the following:

  • Child abuse or neglect.

  • Substance abuse in the household.

  • Parent treated violently.

  • Household mental illness.

  • Parental separation/divorce.

  • Incarcerated parent.

  • Loss of a parent.

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