Strengthening Families: Concrete Support in Times of
By Larry F. Forthun, Samantha Carannante, and David C. Diehl
Parenting is a tremendous responsibility full of many
moments of joy. But sometimes the rapid rate of a young
child’s growth and development can leave parents feeling
a little overwhelmed. This Strengthening Families Series
highlights six factors that promote positive parenting and
protect against stressors and frustrations that can lead
to harsh parenting: Parental Resilience, Social Connections,
Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development,
Concrete Support, Social and Emotional Competence, and
Nurturing and Attachment. Each of these protective factors
offers families and children some defense against distress.
However, together they combine to create a solid foundation
of knowledge, parenting skills, and support that can
help families thrive during everyday circumstances as well
as persevere during times of stress or crisis (1).
All families need help sometimes (2). In times of need,
families will often turn to other family members or friends.
While these types of informal supports are important,
some needs may require more concrete (or solid) financial
or material support. Concrete supports allow families to
maintain their financial security and ensure that they are
able to meet daily needs or unexpected costs (3). There
are many state and local programs that provide concrete
support to families who qualify.
When to Ask for Help
Asking for help can be a very difficult thing to do and
some parents may not be aware that they truly do need
help. Families often do not know what is available to them
through various programs and government agencies. They
may feel they have to solve problems on their own. Being
able to recognize the need for assistance and being willing
to ask for help can greatly benefit families. If the health and
well-being of your children and family are at risk because
of a lack of resources such as money, food, and medical
assistance, it is time to reach out for help...
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