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Strengthening Families and The 5 Protective Factors Series: Parental Resilience

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Sunday, December 18, 2016

Strengthening Families and The 5 Protective Factors Series:

Parental Resilience

Posted by Christopher A. Brown


Strengthening Families™ is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. It is based on engaging families, programs, and communities in building five protective factors:

  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Social and emotional competence of children

Using the Strengthening Families™ framework, more than 30 states are shifting policy and practice to help programs working with children and families focus on protective factors. States apply the Strengthening Families approach in early childhood, child welfare, child abuse prevention, and other child and family serving systems.


Each post includes more detail on each factor than in the brief.

Parental Resilience

Parental resilience is defined by CSSP as “The ability to manage and bounce back from all types of challenges that emerge in every family’s life. It means finding ways to solve problems, building and sustaining trusting relationships including relationships with your own child, and knowing how to seek help when necessary.”

Key to building this resilience is addressing parents’ individual developmental history, psychological resources, and capacity to empathize with self and others. Programs and resources that rely on Attachment Theory create the pro-social connections necessary to develop parental resilience. Because so many parents who abuse and neglect children were abused and neglected themselves, they became parents void of quality intimate relationships with their own parents or caregivers. These parents find it difficult to develop positive attachments to their own children.

Father-specific resources address this factor because fathers who abuse and neglect their children, or who are at risk to abuse and neglect, have unique developmental needs compared to mothers. They moved through a different developmental trajectory. Because many of these fathers lacked involved fathers or positive male role models, they did not develop positive attachments to their fathers and other men. They also did not develop pro-fathering attitudes and values, chief among them attitudes and values associated with healthy masculinity. Masculinity is the primary framework upon which the male psyche is constructed.



About DFFC

The Delaware Fatherhood & Family Coalition is an extension of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative created specifically to give a voice to fathers and the importance of their involvement for the well-being of their children.


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