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Protective factors and resilience

The term “protective factors” is defined as conditions or qualities in people, families, communities, or the greater society that, when exhibited, alleviate or disregard risk in families and communities that, when shown, increase the health and well-being of children and families.

There are six protective factors that strengthen families and help in the development of children and their resilience. These factors are; parental resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development, social and emotional competence of children and nurturing and attachment. The role in which protective factors play in supporting children’s development of resilience is having good concrete support in times of need and social connections this can be from friends and family, neighbours or the community. Having social connections can help to provide emotional support, help to solve problems, offer advice on parenting, and can help in giving assistance to parents. Having a network of social connections and support is important to parents and children, as it means in times of need children, youths and parents can talk to and obtain advice from their concrete support network. Other social connections and support can from having a strong cultural identity and an affiliation with a supportive religious or faith community. For children this is important for their health and wellbeing as it helps children to have a strong sense of their cultural history and allows then to form positive cultural identities. This can give them a sense of belonging and build their self-esteem and resilience, this reduces the chances of children experiencing anxiety, depression, and isolation.

One other protective factor that also plays an important role in supporting the resilience of child development is the concrete support in times of need. For families to be able to thrive it is essential that they must have the basic economic needs such as; food, shelter, clothing, and health care. Not only is it important for the parents to have the basic need, but it is critically more important for children to have these. In times of crisis such as; family encounters with mental illness, domestic violence, or substance abuse and other circumstances, families need concrete support systems in place to prevent the inadvertent neglect that can sometimes happen when parents are incapable to provide for their children.

Parental resilience is another role that protective factors play in the support of resilience in child development, parents who can deal with the everyday stresses and crisis’s that life brings, have resilience. For parent’s resilience is having the ability to be able to bounce back from all the challenges that arise with a family’s everyday life. Parental resilience is about finding different ways to solve problems, knowing how and when to ask for help if needed, forming, and maintaining trusting relationship, especially with children.

Good knowledge of parenting and child development is a role that protective factors play in the support of resilience in child development, when parents provide affection, safe opportunities that can promote independence and self-esteem, polite and civilised communication and listening and rules and expectations that are consistently applied, children able to develop and grow in a healthy environment. Effective parenting helps motivate children to succeed in school and life, it can also encourage children to become more inquisitive about the world around them.

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