Parents and caregivers often think about ways to
strengthen their children’s capabilities through learning.
But new research shows that not only can you help your
children succeed by teaching new skills, but also by
strengthening your family.
Being a parent is a very rewarding and joyful experience,
but being a parent can also have its share of stress.
Parenting stress is caused by the pressures (stressors) that
are placed on parents personally and in relation to their
child and can be caused by such things as:
• typical events and life changes (moving to a
new city or trouble soothing a crying baby)
• unexpected events (losing a job or discovering
your child has a medical problem)
• individual factors (substance abuse or
• social factors (relationship problems or feelings
of loneliness and isolation)
• community, societal or environmental
conditions (poverty, natural disaster)
How parents and families respond to stressors is much
more important than the stress itself. Parents and families
can increase the likelihood of better outcomes if they
support themselves with ‘protective factors’ such as:
– Parental resilience: Parents are strong & flexible
– Social connections: Parents have friends & family
– Concrete support in times of need:
Parents know where to turn for help.
– Knowledge of parenting & child development:
Parents know how children grow and learn
– Social and emotional competence of children:
Children learn to talk about and handle feelings.
Research shows that these protective factors build
family strengths and creates a family environment that
promotes optimal child and youth development. In this
series, we will explore each protective factor and how it
can help your family become stronger.
For information about financial assistance, health
insurance, finding work, housing assistance, and much
more, visit assistance.ky.gov. You can also find a list of
hotlines at chfs.ky.gov/hotline.