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Strategies for Strengthening Families and Charlotte Parents

Resources for Charlotte Parents

The CSSP's Strengthening Families Framework

Mind Body Baby NC

At Mind Body Baby, we provide education, resources, and social-emotional support to individuals and families in the Charlotte area. One excellent resource is the CSSP's Strengthening Families Framework. CSSP's theory of change puts families and children at the model's center, and we love that! As a community, connecting to encourage local and systematic change and policy that ensures equity across all races, cultures, and family dynamics is one of our goals. Take a read of The Strengthening Families Approach, which supports this and has seven general ideas that help enact this change:

1. The Two-Generation 

An approach that promotes optimal child development and reduces the likelihood of child abuse and neglect by providing resources for the child-parent relationship.

2. A Consideration of Culture 

Culture significantly impacts how we raise our children. Immersing in different cultures and beliefs strengthens our relationships and parenting strategies.

3. The Strengths-Based Perspective 

"The set of relationships and processes that support and protect families and family members, especially during adversity and change. Family strengths help to maintain family cohesion while also supporting the development and well-being of individual family members" (Moore et al., 2002, p. 1)

4. The Biology of Stress

From infancy through adulthood, we face stressors that can be presented as mild, moderate, or traumatic. When faced with a challenge or threat, the brain automatically triggers a series of bodily changes, like an increase in heart rate, heightening blood pressure, and the production of stress hormones called the stress response system. Along with mild, moderate, or traumatic stressors, they can also be classified as positive, tolerable, or toxic. "Extensive research on the biology of stress now shows that healthy development can be derailed by excessive or prolonged activation of stress response systems in the body and the brain, with damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health across the lifespan" (Felitti, 2002a; National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2005/2014, p. 1) Making managing the stressors and type of stress in our lives vital as we grow and develop ourselves and our children for stronger family connections.

5. Resilience Theory 

With the factors above taken into consideration, resilience now plays an integral part in trouble-shooting, coping, and problem-solving within family dynamics, making children have a more positive adaptation to life despite any significant stressors or risk factors. A couple to consider are:

  • Provide resources, goods, and services needed to support and maintain the family (e.g., supply adequate food and shelter and to seek health care as needed)

  • Bond together as a unit to provide reciprocal care, emotional support, hope, encouragement, and guidance; resolve conflicts and seek peace; and assist each other during challenging situations and crises.

6. A Focus on Well-Being

When parents face overwhelming challenges without support, their ability to foster family well-being diminishes. Child welfare services often prioritize safety and permanency, but recent evidence suggests focusing on emotional, social, and behavioral domains is crucial! Creating a positive environment around well-being and enacting policy change helps to foster healthy caregiver-child relationships.

7. The Nature of Risk and Protective Factors

Protective Factors are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that mitigate or eliminate risk.

Risk Factors are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that increase the probability of poor outcomes.

For example, "Poverty is identified as a risk factor for negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement and social, emotional, and behavioral problems. However, many children who grow up in poverty are able to avoid these negative outcomes. "A positive parent-child relationship and parental involvement have been found to be protective among at-risk children. . . and [researchers] found a positive relationship with parents to be predictive of non-delinquency" (Owens & Shaw, 2003, p. 274).

Strengthening Families and Charlotte parents

This adaptation of the shown figure represents that the individual, family, relational, community, societal, and policy must make a genuine difference in the lives of families and children. That's precisely what we are trying to accomplish here at Mind Body Baby NC.

Support for Charlotte Parents and Caretakers

At Mind Body Baby, we aim to support Charlotte parents and caretakers through many avenues. Scroll through our website to find social and situational peer groups and events to support you on your journey through early parenting. Find offerings in the community on our Community Calendar, where we share groups and events for individuals and families in the Charlotte area. Together, we will get through the pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum experience because when caregivers feel nurtured, knowledgeable, and valued, their children can reach their fullest potential. 

Thank you to Charlyn Harper Browne, Ph.D., for the compelling research.

Citation- Harper Browne, C. (2014, September). The Strengthening Families Approach and Protective Factors Framework: Branching out and reaching deeper. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Social Policy

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