This is something we don’t take seriously enough. We seem to do the opposite, admiring the parents who are overstressed, overworked, over-everything, instead of the ones who take care of themselves.
All this month in our HRI blogs, we’re looking at protective factors against child abuse. At first glance, it may seem counter-intuitive that self-care among parents and caregivers is one of these protective factors. Shouldn’t we be focused more on factors that directly impact children: things like safe homes and communities, consistent and stabling parenting practices, and access to age-appropriate educational experiences?
Of course, it’s important for children to have access to all of these things, but in looking more broadly to the bigger picture, we need to ask, How do children gain access to them? For the most part, children have access to all of the other protective factors through their parents, caregivers, and other adults who support them in school, community organizations, and other resources in the community. Therefore, we need to make sure that all of the adults who impact the lives of children are doing their best to take care of their own physical, mental, and emotional health, too