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ASCERT Staff Member Alison Armstrong Asks - What Makes Your Family Strong?

AS ASCERT launches a drive for participation in its next round of its Strengthening Families programmes running in the Belfast and Southern Health & Social Care Trusts starting in autumn 2019, Alison Armstrong, Prevention Services Manager with ASCERT asks you to consider how you are investing in building your own family’s protective factors?

What makes your family strong? The reality is hard times, adversity, misfortune, hard knock, bad breaks, difficulties, tough luck or whatever you call it in your family – all of us are sure to face anyone of these at one time or another. That’s part of life and can be extremely stressful on family life.

The good news is that all these risks factors that families face do not define your family, its protective factors that do. Research tells us that the more protective factors you have in your family the stronger your family is and it protective factors that make your family strong.

So what is a protective factor – I’m sure you have heard all of that ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ stuff, well its true. Your effectiveness as a parent is better when you are strong. So working on you should never be an afterthought but a ‘top of the list’ priority. Develop your inner strength as a parent – and let your children see you do it. That alone teachers them that looking after oneself is important. Lead by example and be that resilient parent.

Ensure that you have good positive social connections. Having friends that you can lean on when times are tough are worth their weight in gold so invest in those relationships.

Parenting is a learnt skill, we don’t just have all the answers no matter who we are – I have raised four children and I ‘winged’ most of it. But when we know better we do better so upskill yourself. Read, research and attend a lecture, study child and adolescent development and be your child’s own expert.

Teach your children social and emotional competence. If I had a pound for every time I hear parents say…..’It was good enough for me so it’s good enough for him’………….. ‘Or he will just have to figure it out for himself’ I would be a very rich women. And yes children have to figure things out for themselves because that’s part of learning.

But by giving your child the tools to problem solve or the words to express how they are feeling would save an awful lot of angst. Children today and growing up in a world their brains were never designed for. We have to help them navigate the twists and turns of everyday life in a way that empowers them.

Parents are the most powerful human being in a child’s life. Not the grandparent, not the teacher and not their friends. You are the SUPER protective factor.

Alison Armstrong, Prevention Services Manager, ASCERT

Click Here to find out more about the Strengthening Families programme

You can enquire about and book your family’s place in the next programmes which will be happening in Belfast and Newry starting in September/October 2019 by contacting: Tanya (Strengthening Families Site Support Worker)

T: 0800 2545 123    

E: tanya@ascert.biz

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23 Bridge Street,
Co. Antrim
BT28 1XZ

Tel: 0800 2545 123
Fax: 028 9260 3874
Email: info@ascert.biz
Charity Number: NIC101239