Being a parent is not an easy job, especially in today’s world. Sometimes parents need support or ideas to help them be better parents. While all families are unique, with their own way of doing things, research has suggested that there are common characteristics that make families successful. These characteristics have been studied by nationally recognized parenting experts and put into six categories or keys1.

These Keys of Successful Parenting are: Care for Self, Understand, Guide, Nurture, Motivate, and Advocate. They are important to parents and parenting, although different styles and customs may influence how they are used in families.

There is no one correct way to be a successful parent. This fact sheet does not teach the “how to’s” of parenting. It does, however, explain one of the six Keys of Successful Parenting. How a parent practices this key is up to each family and its way of doing things so the family can unlock its own door to a happy and healthy life.

This fact sheet focuses on one of the Keys of Successful Parenting:Care for Self. Look for these additional fact sheets: Nurture, Guide, Motivate, Advocate, and Understand.

Taking care of yourself means managing your life, the stress that can go with it and using a good social support network. Although not impacting children directly, “Care for Self” guides a parent to providing a secure, supportive, and predictable environment for his/her children and family. A parent who is connected and supported will find it natural to nurture a child. A parent who is feeling stressed, however, may not take the time to monitor a child’s schoolwork, for example. A parent who practices “Care for Self” is more likely to be the best parent he/she can be for their child.

Stress and Your Family

Being able to manage life’s stress is a process. A parent has to make a real, determined effort in order to manage the stress that occurs in life.

Everyone’s stressors in life are different. Take a moment to think about the things in your life that cause you stress. Write them down. Some examples might be: work, money, bills, cars, children, health, homework, worries. Are there any ways YOU can think of to help reduce the stressors in your life? Write these down, too.

Managing Stress

Many stressors in life, unfortunately, cannot be eliminated. As a result, individuals try to cope or deal with these stressors. People cope in different ways. They use both positive and negative ways of coping and/or managing their stress. The key to successfully handing stress is to use more positive ways of coping.

POSITIVE Ways of Coping with Stress

  • Reading a book or magazine or listening to your favorite music
  • Exercise/Sports: walking, hiking, camping, playing with your children
  • Hobbies – woodworking, crocheting, gardening
  • Taking a bath or getting a massage or meditation

NEGATIVE Ways of Coping with Stress

  • Overuse of substances (alcohol, tobacco, drugs)
  • Yelling or screaming at your family, spouse, or others around you
  • Blaming yourself or others for your stressors
  • Avoiding/withdrawing

Think of several ways you cope with stress in a positive way and several ways you cope in a negative way. Write them down.

Using Social Support

Having other people around you who support you makes life a whole lot easier. This is called social support. Having social support means you have family or friends that will listen to you, help you solve problems, and are there for you when you need them. Parents who have good support systems feel better, cope better, are able to parent better, and have healthier, happier children. All families need a good social support system.

There are many ways you can increase the amount of social support in your life. You can join a club or religious group, volunteer for a program, develop a hobby or take a class that sounds interesting. By becoming involved in these or similar activities, you can meet people and begin building a strong social support network.

Caring for self” is the first step in the process of being able to care for others. Caring for yourself helps you be the best parent you can or close enough to make life a whole lot easier!

Build Your Social Support and Meet People

Family to Family Connection: Provides education, information, and resources to families with infants and toddlers. Call 702-486-3530 for the nearest location to you.

Family Resource Centers of Nevada: Connects families with information and programs in their community. Call 702-486-3530 for the nearest location to you.

Friendship With Families: Community-based program connecting well-trained and caring volunteers with families. Call (702) 257-5597 for information.

Nevada PEP: Provides information and referral services for children and families. Call 702-388-8899 or go on-line to NV Pep.

Clark County Community Centers: offer a series of group and individual recreational and educational classes. Call 702-455-8200 for information on Community Centers and Community Outreach. Call 702-455-3777 for Neighborhood Centers or go on-line to: Clark County.htm Follow the link to Community Centers, Community Outreach Services and Neighborhood Services.

City of Las Vegas Department of Leisure Activities Community Centers: offer a series of group and individual recreational and educational classes. Call 702-229-6297 for information or go on-line to: LVN.

Clark County Public Libraries: provide group classes Call (702) 734-READ (7323) or go on-line to: LV Library District.

Volunteer Center of Southern Nevada: A place to find out where to volunteer. Call 702-892-2321.

Brown, R. and Killian, E. 2004, Keys of Successful Parenting: Care for Self, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-04-41

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