All parents face confusion and stress raising children. When parents or children face significant challenges like poverty, mental health issues, addiction, family violence, foster care placement, or histories of trauma, it can be even harder to know how to build a safe and loving family life. Stories here explore how parents have overcome challenges to build strong families.

A Hug Every Day

I always knew my father wasn’t much of a family man. He was in and out of prison. He would show up and then disappear for two or three years.

After I went into foster care at the age of 10, I wondered,“Why didn’t he want any part of me?” I wanted him to help me answer questions like, “Can I make it in life?” and, “What is my purpose?”

Kids at Risk

I’m not alone in missing … Read More

Stepping into Fatherhood

I want to be a role model for my daughter.

On July 1, 2007, I held my daughter in my arms for the first time. Emma Frost (the nickname I gave her) was 6 pounds and 9 ounces with a head full of hair. I couldn’t feel a thing until I left the hospital. 

As I sat in the cab, looking out the window, I thought about good memories I had of my dad, how he always … Read More

‘Your History Is Not Destiny’

Most parents who were abused do not harm their kids.

Although people often talk about “breaking the cycle of abuse,” studies show that most parents who were physically abused as children do not grow up to physically abuse their children, says Katherine Pears, a research scientist at the Oregon Social Learning Center. Here she explains the research on abuse and parenting:

That’s a notion in people’s heads that if you haven’t had a good model of … Read More

Ages and Stages

Developmental milestones help you know how your child is doing.

If your child is having trouble doing some of these things, you might want to contact 311 or 1-800-522-5006 for information about services to help your child. Early help makes a difference!

3 Months

At three months of age, most babies:

—turn their heads toward bright colors and lights

—move both eyes in the same direction together

—recognize bottle or breast —respond to their mother’s voice —make cooing sounds—bring … Read More

Promoting the Positive: The importance of supporting positive childhood experiences and healing in families, schools and communities

Research links adverse childhood experiences, known as ACEs, such as abuse, neglect or experiencing or witnessing violence, to health and well-being challenges in adulthood. But in her research, Dr. Christina Bethell, director of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that many people who experienced ACEs also had positive experiences as children that made a difference in adulthood.

Here, Dr. Bethell discusses the importance of focusing on positive and healing experiences for individuals, families and communities. She explains how to establish family routines that promote well-being even when families are under stress and how parents can set the agenda to get help their families may need.

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