Protective Factors Maui Style
Parenting is an extraordinary journey. Like all voyages, it is filled with both joys and challenges.
Paddling is like Parenting: Who’s in Your Canoe?
Like the ocean voyages of the ancient Hawaiians, parenting requires preparation and a team. Our parenting team includes the people who love, care for, teach and protect our children: aunty, uncle, grandparents, neighbors, business owners, doctors, coaches, teachers, faith leaders, and others. Unlike the ancient ocean voyagers who were often at the mercy of nature, parents and communities can create conditions that will increase the well-being of families.
The protective factors help children feel nurtured and help adults paddle smoothly through the waters of parenthood:
- Knowledge of parenting and child development
- Parental resilience
- Social connections
- Concrete support for families
- Social and emotional competence in children
- Nurturing and attachment
The wa’a metaphorically illustrates how these protective factors can enhance a family’s capacity to succeed, be strong and be supported. Whether you are a neighbor, business owner, or a tutu, you are in someone’s parenting canoe.
Often, we are in a position to do something when a family or child is at risk but we don’t know what to do or don’t want to get involved. With this information, our hope is that you will be empowered to make that next step, perhaps making the difference in one child’ life by simply getting involved in an effective and safe way.
Journey with us to learn more about creating the conditions that allow us to do right by our children.
Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development ~ This is Really Hard!
Set a course and realize the destination of the journey.
Parenting does not come with a manual. As children grow from babies to toddlers to children to teens, they change. Their behaviors are as different as their needs. Parenting evolves with the child.
- Parenting is challenging.
- Your feelings are normal.
- Reach out to another caregiver or parent for support.
- Be open to receiving support from friends, family and your community.
- Share experiences.
- Just say: “Call me.”
- Acknowledge: “I can’t do it alone because it is hard to do alone.”
Parental Resilience ~ It’s Never Too Late
Sometimes we journey through rough waters. Pushing past the rough parts shows how, when we’re challenged, we push through the roughness without staying in it.
Parents who can cope with the stresses of everyday life and the occasional crisis have resilience. There is no shame in offering help as a member of the community or in receiving help when we need it.
- Every family has strengths; find your family’s strengths.
- First make yourself pono.
- Ask: “How can I help you with what’s needed around the house?”
- Step in and offer help to a stressed out or overwhelmed parent, even as a stranger. Ask: “Are you ok?” “Do you need some help?” “Can I give you a break?”
- We all make mistakes. We can try again tomorrow.
- Ask: “Is this working for you?”
Concrete Supports for Families ~ No Shame
We lean on others in our community, just like we would lean on the five others in the wa’a who are on the journey with us when we need them the most.
Families who can meet their own basic needs for food, clothing, housing and transportation, as well as services for child care and health needs, are better equipped to ensure their children’s safety and well-being.
- Offer to drive a parent to the doctor/school/service provider/store.
- Barter and trade for goods and services.
- Invest the time to earn trust so that a friend/client can come to you when help is needed.
- We can’t do it all ourselves; there is no shame in asking for and offering help.
- When you offer help and receive resistance, be persistent; don’t give up too easily.
Nurturing and Attachment/Social and Emotional Competence in Children ~ Why Not Now?
Celebrating the journey as it occurs, showing love and empathy.
Parents and caregivers demonstrate love to children through acts of kindness, protection and caring.
- Tell your child “Wow, what a great job!”
- “I love you no matter what.” “I’m proud of you for doing well in school/helping out.”
- Tell other parents how you show love: “My kids love it when we all go surfing together. It brings our family closer together.” “Sunday night is our family popcorn night.”
- Create and celebrate opportunities to do things together as a family.
- Try to commit to some quality, media-free family time every day.
Social Connections ~ How You Stay?
Take the time before the journey begins or in the midst of it to acknowledge and connect with the people who will support you in it.
Take the time before the journey begins or in the midst of it to acknowledge and connect with the people who will support you in it.When parents and caregivers have a social network and emotionally supportive friends, family and neighbors, they find it easier to care for their children and themselves.
- Talk story with grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren.
- Ask: “How you doing?”
- Reach out to another and don’t give up until you connect.
- Invite a parent to join you at a meeting or social gathering.
- Attend your children’s events and get to know the other parents.