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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to recognize that we all can play an important role in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and their families in our community. But we shouldn’t stop there! Let’s work together to build strong families year round.

What makes families strong? Studies show that parental resilience is one factor that reduces the risk of child maltreatment. Parenting can be a rewarding experience, but at times it can also be overwhelming. Resilience is the ability to cope with stress and bounce back from challenges. Resilient parents find ways to solve problems, build and sustain trusting relationships with their children, and know how to seek help when necessary. And the good news is that resiliency is a trait that can be learned by both parents and children.

What can you do to build resilience as a parent?

  • Take a break – It's okay to take a moment to yourself, to recharge your energy and patience. Give yourself the time to renew and recharge.
  • Look for the positive – Take a moment to remember what you love and enjoy about your child. Find the positive and turn your focus to that.
  • Reach out – Talk through tough situations with a friend or loved one. Or even call the Alaska Parent Line at 2-1-1 or www.alaska211.org
  • Take care of yourself – Getting plenty of rest, eating healthy food, and getting regular exercise can help with your stress management.

What can you do to help other parents build resilience?

  • Listen – Take time to lend an ear and talk with a parent experiencing tough times.
  • Give the gift of time – Offer to babysit, go grocery shopping, or run errands for a parent you know. You can offer to join for company on these errands as well.
  • Get involved – Get to know the families in your neighborhood, and talk about how you can support each other. 

The theme for this year’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month is “Building Communities, Building Hope.” Here are some other ways you can strengthen your community, from the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

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