Social Connections make up one of six protective factors that have been linked to a lower incidence of child abuse. Children who observe their parents exhibiting positive social connections can learn how to build supportive relationships with peers and will give children access to other caring adults. This can help to create mutual respect and appreciation in the home which in turn helps to build strong families.
What Do Social Connections Look Like?
Parents demonstrate social connections by engaging in supportive relationships with others; having feelings of respect and appreciation; accepting help from others, while also providing help to others; and displaying skills for establishing and maintaining connections with others.
Most parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need someone to listen, need advice, or need support. It is okay to ask for help. Here are some practical ways that parents can work on building and encouraging social connections:
Model positive relationship behavior.
When parents model positive relationships with their peers and members of the community, they are teaching their children what a supportive relationship looks like. This in turn will encourage children to build their own positive relationships.
Invite other parents to events where they can get to know each other.
People need people who care about them and their children. Having somewhere to turn to or someone to lean on can be incredibly uplifting.
Encourage engagement in the community and participation in community activities.
Every family is part of a community of some kind. Some examples are a neighborhood, a school community, a church community, and their own community of friends and family members. By engaging in the community, parents continue to build positive social connections and help nurture a sense of community within their children.
Here are a few questions to think about to be mindful of social connections within the family:
- What friends or family members can help you out once in a while?
- What groups and organizations are you a member of? What group or organizations would you like to be a member of?
- Who can you call for advice or just to talk?
- What helps you feel connected?
- Who are the people in your life that bring positive energy in, that make you smile and feel like everything will work out?
If you’re looking for more help, support, and guidance, we’re here to help with that. CEDARS offers support and resources to families with children at all stages; from pregnancy through the teenage years. Through our free and voluntary services, we can help you navigate the joys and struggles of parenting. We want your family to be safe, strong, and successful.