Strengthening Families

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Strengthening Families

Strengthening families is a national initiative to help parents create safe, stable and nurturing environments for the optimal healthy growth and development of their children. They've outlined "Five Protective Factors" that, when present, help lower rates of problem behaviors, delinquency, alcohol and drug abuse, child abuse and neglect. One of these factors is parental resilience.

Parental Resilience

A number of factors contribute to a person’s ability to be resilient when faced with adversity:

  • having people in your life who care about you and help you through tough times
  • having people who believe in your abilities and strengths and who have high expectations for you to be successful
  • living in a community that provides opportunities for meaningful participation, including being involved in decision making, contributing your talents to the good of the community, and other forms of service.

Personal factors that help build resilience

  • Positive social skills. Open, respectful, but direct communication techniques, maintaining a positive attitude and having a sense of humor when faced with challenges.
  • Problem-solving skills. Being able to stop and think before reacting, being able to generate alternative solutions, and weighing consequences of decisions before you act, and openness to seeking support when needed.
  • Feeling secure about yourself, having a sense of self-worth, and having a clear sense of self identity so that you step away or create some physical or psychological distance from things that pull you down or give you stress.
  • Having a sense of purpose and hope for the future, such as having personal goals, strong values and connectedness to others.

And if you find that you don’t have people in your life who provide the kinds of external supports that help build resilience, try to be proactive in searching out mentors who care about you and believe in your potential. If you are in high school or college, you may find a mentoring program in the career planning office. Church youth groups, athletic teams, and community sponsored programs like Big Brothers/Big Sisters programs could be potential sources of support.

Many articles in this section were adapted from WeRNative.org, a website for Native Youth by Native Youth