Are you wondering about ensuring safety as a dimension of parenting capacity? If this is so, let’s cover this topic!
What Is Ensuring Safety As A Dimension Of Parenting Capacity
Ensuring safety relates to a parent’s capability to keep a child safe from harm and danger. More precisely, safe from harm that can be caused by human behavior – adults and kids, or as the result of an unsafe space, object, or situation.
This post has affiliate links which means that we make a commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. For more information read our Affiliate disclosure.
We’ll talk about the most important information concerning ensuring safety. But also what to focus on if your capability to ensure safety is under influence of complex life situations.
And I’ll provide a personal recommendation you can act upon immediately near the end of the post.
So stay with me to get the crucial insights regarding ensuring safety as a dimension of parenting capacity!
Note: Even though I am a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), I am not your licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). This means engaging with our website is not considered a professional social worker and client relationship. This also means you should not consider this information as professional advice. Although we do put in every reasonable effort to provide the most accurate and reliable information, this does not replace professional advice, and you should not rely only on them. You still might need to consult a professional to introduce your particular situation, issue, problem, or position. Read our full Disclaimer here.
WHAT IS PARENTING CAPACITY
Parenting capacity is the parent’s competence and capability to recognize the child’s needs, give them a priority, and respond to them in an empathetic way, in order to provide protection, care, and necessary conditions so a child can grow and develop.
You’ve probably heard about the assessment of parenting capacity. The purpose of assessing parenting capacity is to get closer insights into how well parents can respond to the child’s developmental needs. To be able to understand this, we must assess certain areas or dimensions that can provide intel concerning this.
Those areas are the dimensions of parenting capacity. And they are:
- ensuring safety,
- basic care,
- emotional warmth and responsiveness
- guidance and boundaries,
- stability, and
I wrote a blog post that covers these 6 dimensions of parenting capacity and you can find it here: What Is Parenting Capacity And How To Find Balance As A Parent?.
Note that parenting capacity isn’t static or inflexible. And it isn’t to be reduced to only some psychological factors of parenting. Or the individual skills and capacities of a parent that are fixed or even innate.
You may have gotten this impression as a result of society’s constant finger-pointing at parents for whatever happens with one family with kids.
This is probably due to old concepts or better-said misconceptions about individual characteristics being all that influence the quality of one’s life and wellbeing. These misconceptions are still being pretty strongly imposed.
Instead, I want you to take out of this a realization that parenting is going through a continuous process of change and influence that’s depending on the conditions and circumstances a family encounters in the family life cycle.
This means there is a constant exchange within the family, but also between the family and social environment. Family is a part of society and the values and culture of that society are reflected in a family.
Let’s see what can affect parenting capacity.
WHAT AFFECTS PARENTING CAPACITY
I’ll mention the circumstances that have the potential to obstruct parenting capacity or parenting competence. Considering they create the most doubt and confusion (and fear, too) in terms of outcomes on the child’s functioning.
So what affects parenting capacity are: physical disability, mental illness of a parent, intellectual disability, psychoactive substance abuse, criminal behavior or lifestyle, violence between intimate partners (domestic violence), parent’s trauma, and socioeconomic conditions.
These specific circumstances have the potential to limit parenting capacity. Meaning they can put a child at risk, and even endanger their health or life. BUT that doesn’t mean that simply having them as parts of the family dynamics means we have weakened or limited parenting capacity.
It’s very important to note that children living in families affected by these circumstances aren’t necessarily at risk of long-term negative outcomes. This means we need to be very careful about stereotypical perspectives and prejudices about these families and those kids.
We need to focus on strengths and observe things from the perspective of strengths. Or we’ll contribute to these families facing stigma and even marginalization.
You have many different assignments as a parent, that you take on to make sure you provide the necessary conditions for a child to grow, develop, and progress.
These basic requirements need to fit the child’s age, meaning they have to be adapted to the child’s developing and evolving capacities. For example, you won’t expect a 5-month-old baby to pick up the toys from the floor and arrange them.
So those basic conditions have to match the phase in the child’s development.
Of course, this should never include pressure or demand for the parent to become some ideal prototype of a perfect parent. Firstly, nobody could ever define what an ideal parent is. Because nobody can fit every child or every situation into one box and because every single child has unique characteristics.
Also, children and families live in different social environments, cultures, communities, and conditions. At the same time, every parent is different. Not to mention that access to important services and support aren’t the same for all parents.
Therefore, instead of trying to standardize every single thing, we should learn to embrace and empower diversity.
And we should always focus on the necessary minimum parents need to provide for the child to thrive. Instead of trying to seize perfection no matter what or impose personal high criteria on other parents.
Moreover, the criteria for good parenting capacity are not to be defined by our personal values and aspirations. Since we all have so many of them.
This means we shouldn’t confuse good parenting capacity with our personal beliefs, aspirations, and (sometimes too high) criteria. Actually, what you as a parent need to do is achieve just the required necessary minimum.
- The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level
- The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
- Dr Shefali Tsabary Collection 3 Books Set (The Awakened Family, The Conscious Parent, A Radical Awakening)
- How Do I Feel?: A Mental Health Journal for Kids
- The Self-Love Workbook: A Life-Changing Guide to Boost Self-Esteem, Recognize Your Worth and Find Genuine Happiness (Self-Love Books)
- SPONSORED: Self-Love Workbook for Women: Release Self-Doubt, Build Self-Compassion and Embrace Who You Are (Self-Help Workbooks for Women)
- How to Be Accountable Workbook: Take Responsibility to Change Your Behavior, Boundaries, & Relationships (5-Minute Therapy)
- Happiness Workbook: A CBT-Based Guide to Foster Positivity and Embrace Joy
- Unfuck Your Boundaries: Build Better Relationships Through Consent, Communication, and Expressing Your Needs (5-minute Therapy)
- No More Perfect Moms: Learn to Love Your Real Life
- More Than A Mom: Finding Purpose In the Everyday Monotony Without Losing Yourself Or Your Sanity
Now, let’s talk about ensuring safety as a dimension of parenting capacity.
WHAT ENSURING SAFETY AS A PARENTING CAPACITY DIMENSION IS
Ensuring safety relates to a parent’s capability to keep a child safe from harm and danger. Both parents are equally responsible for this. Except when there’s an absence of one of them or some other specific circumstance.
A child needs to be safe from harm that can be caused by human behavior – adults and kids. Or can be the result of an unsafe space, object, or situation.
Additionally, a parent has to develop a sensibility to predict and prevent dangers while finding a balance regarding protection.
Again, this should be adapted to the children’s age and maturity. Since children become more and more independent in different areas as they grow. And parents need to promote, motivate and strengthen their independence.
But this also implies you should always keep away from overprotecting children. Because they become capable of self-protection to a certain degree according to their age.
Quite the contrary, you should make an effort to encourage their independence in a way that is suitable for THEM. Not for you as a parent.
For example, over-protection can lead to struggling with anxiety. Considering this way a parent is sending the message to a child that nothing is safe enough and scaring or intimidating them this way.
And these parents almost always get annoyed with their ”anxious” children when they are all grown up, and yet still fail in being independent or taking any kind of risks.
It’s useful to note that living without any kind of risk in life affects the quality of that life. So, maybe it’s better to try to stop this from happening on time.
We need to empower our children to be more independent and help them develop skills for protecting themselves when the time is right.
So we all have to learn how to find a fine balance regarding protection, according to the child’s age, maturity, and capacities.
What I meant to say is that overprotecting the child, when we should instead enforce independence, can be detrimental for the child on many levels.
At the same time, being ignorant when it should be obvious to us that a child needs immediate protection.
Especially when it comes to the youngest children, can be the most harmful of all.
This means that if we leave them or keep them in an unsafe room, with unsafe people, or alone when they are too young to stay alone, then it’s obvious, that we’re not protecting them enough. And we need to strengthen parenting capacity.
So it comes to (adaptation based on Bentovim, et al, 2009):
#1 Safe attachment pattern between the child and the parent
- As opposed to insecure (ambivalent-insecure or insecure-avoidant) and disordered/disorganized attachment patterns – where children are in a position to develop adaptable strategies to make sure parents provide basic care and protection (to persuade the parent).
- Parents are RESPONSIVE to the child’s needs and children (including infants in their first months) know they’ll l receive protection, care, comfort, etc.
- Parents help infants, toddlers and young children regulate emotion, tension, unease, discomfort, etc, so they get the message from a parent that these are manageable and that they’ll pass.
- A child feels safe and has a safe/secure space/base where it can return to at any moment. After it finishes free experiencing and exploring the environment.
- A parent/caretaker recognizes, acknowledges, and (positively) responds to a child’s emotions; helps the child develop competence to successfully deal with their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors (as well as others’ behavior).
- A child has an affectional attachment figure (person), as opposed to the child who doesn’t and is affection-deprived.
3 Mindsets Everyone Should Shift If They Really
Want To Be A Good Example For Their Child
#2 Parents find and keep a fine balance regarding the protection
- They understand the purpose of protection and look at protection realistically – they avoid overprotection and pressure, and they do protect enough.
- They believe their child can learn to master self-protection so they’re empowering and strengthening the child’s capacities and skills.
- They adapt their behavior according to the child’s evolving capacity to take care of itself.
- They are responsible and confident and their protection is thorough.
- Their protection is consistent and it doesn’t have any critical breaches.
- Their protection style shows consistency, as opposed to occasional, sporadic, inconsistent protection providing.
- They are self-assured about their ability to protect the child.
#3 Parents are providing safety at home according to the child’s age
- Parents adapt the (physical) space according to the child’s age and self-protection skills.
- They keep potentially dangerous in-house objects out of the kid’s reach according to the child’s age and maturity.
- They have kids in their sight around the house and yard according to the kid’s age and maturity (and level of independence).
- A child is free and empowered to explore and play, in an environment that is safe enough.
#4 Parents are protecting the child from dangerous people and preventing their access to the child
- Parents are capable of understanding and detecting which contacts are risky contacts (persons or groups).
- Parents prevent high-risk contacts.
- Parents have learned to spot changes in a child’s behavior that associate with abuse, and are taking it seriously.
- They protect the child after the risky contact occurred; they take action to prevent it from repeating and support the child (when it comes to peer violence all of this can be challenging – the best tip is to take action by priority).
- Parents take child’s worries about safety into consideration and seriously.
- Parents respond to safety warnings regarding the child that come from other persons outside the family.
#5 Parents have direct or indirect control of/insights on other places a child is staying
- Parents are familiar with the child’s whereabouts.
- Parents are familiar with their child’s contacts outside the family.
- Parents are in continual/regular touch with the preschool/school representatives.
- Parents are cautious enough about every person that interacts with a child, alone or in a group (coaches, teachers, child sitters, etc).
- Parents should be cautious about the signals a child is sending about their encounters with these people, and do not assume that their respectable profession implies that the child will be safe with them. Always TRUST your child about what they’re telling you ( remember that it’s easier to deal with potential lies later, than with being too late to prevent danger and potential abuse).
What is important as well, is to be aware when you as a parent have too much on your plate. Life can sometimes be pretty uncertain and relentless.
Those are complex situations when the child needs some additional support, adjustments, or caution when it comes to providing safety and protection. They can be:
- Sickness or challenges/disability of a child or other family member, violence, or other hurtful experiences which cause vulnerability, exhaustion, or role intertwining.
- More people take care of the child, especially if they’re unfamiliar enough.
- Experiences of separation, divorce, death, and grief.
- Child disability as a risk for peer violence.
- Substance abuse by parent or child.
- Parental issues or domestic violence.
- A parent has a disability that affects the providing of care, etc.
Note: If any or more of these are present in the family dynamics, that doesn’t mean that safety issues will exist.
LIVE Q&A And Consultations with Jovana (WISHLIST)
Want a chance to get included in live weekly calls with me and get access to my expert insights, advice, recommendations, and guidance for your unique situation?
Consider signing up if you are aiming for:
- achieving tremendous child-parent relationships with the least effort possible as you learn what to focus your attention to
- attuning to healthy child development practices without losing yourself in the process and ignoring your human needs, rights, and aspirations for your life
- getting skilled in honoring the child’s best interest in each life situation with the help of a few key rules and principles (child wellbeing, independence, autonomy, participation, and equality)
- experiencing a supportive and cooperative relationship with the other parent or a co-parent even in high-conflict circumstances
Address your doubts, concerns, and challenges, but also reflect on your situation through the experiences of others in the community.
You’ll unlock monthly access for 60% off of my current hourly rate!
If you are in one or more of these positions and challenges as a parent, here are some general tips:
- Inform yourself and learn as much as possible about the situation you are facing and the child’s additional safety needs and RISKS. Or about the ways their needs are to be met optimally.
- Inform yourself about any resources and services in your local community that provide different types of support or coordination of services.
- Look for others who are in a similar situation and can understand you the best to connect. But always be careful, because your vulnerability could be exploited.
- Find out if there is a support group in your local community that fits your situation.
- Try to avoid isolation. And if you have individuals in your life who enforce it (even if they think they are helping), set boundaries. Or consider distancing from them if nothing can be changed.
- Have a realistic expectation when it comes to others obtaining a deep understanding of your exact situation. Try to save energy whenever you notice you have to explain yourself too much to someone. ESPECIALLY if this is repeating. THAT’S NOT SUPPORT. And it will lead to exhaustion, so find a way to limit your efforts. Use your strength carefully because you need it!
- Ask for help. Don’t wait until you’re negatively affected by severe exhaustion or you’re burned out. You have nothing to prove to anyone. Nobody is in your shoes.
- Be patient and kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can!
I hope this helps.
WANT TO ENSURE MORE CONNECTION WITH YOUR CHILD AND MORE EFFECTIVE PARENTING?
If you want to elevate your parenting then I want to recommend a program called Conscious Parenting Mastery, creates by well-known parenting expert Dr. Shefali hosted on Mindvalley.
Mindvalley is a dynamic personal development platform created to level up your life by embracing personal growth and anyone can find programs that will fit their individual needs depending on the area of life they find troubling, too challenging, or simply want to improve to serve them best.
And if you decide to join the membership, you will get a chance to get the full Conscious Parenting Mastery program alongside over 100 other programs (and counting because each month a new program -Quest is added to the platform) for a single monthly price.
You can go from confused, overwhelmed, and without a clear vision for your life, to confident, grounded and focused, as well as determined about how you want your life to be, by focusing on personal growth and Mindvalley will give you this chance. Make this year the year you get to the next level.
What you can expect once you begin engaging with this platform is:
- true self-discovery so that you can start identifying your real preferences, aspirations, goals, and dreams
- setting meaningful goals that have the potential to fulfill your need for self-actualization as opposed to only living on someone else’s terms and building someone else’s dream in order to be accepted by the environment and perceived as successful
- liberation from fabricated societal expectation and norms that not only don’t serve you, but are in fact representing oppression which is suffocating your soul that only wants you to live in alignment with whom you truly are and not what society expects you to be
- to finally awaken your authenticity by letting yourself be visible as opposed to being shy or ashamed of who you are deep down or what you want behind the closed doors
- to acquire skills to make life decisions aligned with your core values and true desires coming from the depth of your being
- begin stepping into your potential and move towards reaching full potential unique for you and different from anyone else’s in the world
- become skilled at self-love that holds the key to building the life of your dreams
- finally become comfortable in your own skin, doing your own thing, and going where you truly want to go in life
- build the life you are proud to call your own and experience lasting fulfilment because your consciousness is so expanded that you don’t need to worry about whether things will work out for you ever again, as now you have skills and support to make them work.
And you’ll have access to the community of like-minded folks to connect with to whom we can relate. Right now you can enjoy the membership at a special price, so if you were thinking about expanding your self-growth so you can reach your full potential, there’s no better time than now.
Dr. Shefali’s program is an amazing 35-day program you can consume at your pace, created by Dr. Shefali, an experienced psychologist who works with families and creates courses and programs to help parents resolve problems in their relationship with their children through connection with them.
It is one of rare programs that can transform the relationship with your child.
If you want to dive deeper into this platform, read my post that mentions more than 30 programs you can expect to find on the platform if you decide to get inside the membership: 30+ Transformational Online Personal Development Programs For Creating The Life You Desire.
Now that I’m done with this short interupton, we can move on to see how permissive parenting influences children.
- 21 Gifts To Show You Care To Those You Cherish And Deepen Your Connection
- 15 Positive Gifts For Friends That Will Elevate Their Any Moment
- 11 Uplifting Gifts For Friends To Warm Their Hearts
- 51 Self-love Thoughts To Redefine Your Relationship with Yourself
- 100 Ways To Change Yourself And Empower Your Evolution
- 100 Ways To Improve Yourself (From Ordinary To Extraordinary)
Recommended Resources For You:
- Live By Your Own Rules Program: rediscover your true self and design a life of uncompromising authenticity and fulfillment in this soul-affirming journey where you’ll overcome oppressing and fabricated societal standards ruling your life without your conscious permission.
- Conscious Parenting Mastery Program: embrace a new model of parenting that will enable you to raise authentic, confident, and well-adjusted kids after you break free from the parenting norms that don’t serve you or your child.
- Becoming Focused And Indistractible FREE Masterclass: uncover what it takes to regain your focus and productivity in a distraction-filled world and becoming indistractable in this empowering program. And help your kids become it too.
- Energy Medicine FREE Masterclass: by Donna Eden: follow a renowned healer extensively recognized by both scientific and alternative branches of healthcare in a transformational journey towards awakening your body’s natural healing ability and understand how to reconnect with the natural healing systems existing within you and master your body’s energy systems and correct energetic blocks and weaknesses.
- The Integral Life FREE Masterclass: by a legendary modern philosopher Ken Wilber, uncover how you can embody his signature integral theory for a life of deeper fulfillment, self-actualization, and impact. The Integral Life offers an ‘operating manual’ for thinking, growing, and being the most whole and fully realized version of yourself.
- Be Extraordinary FREE Masterclass: understand how you can achieve higher states of consciousness, tap into your fullest potential, and bend your life’s reality.
- Uncompromised Life FREE Masterclass: learn about Marisa Peer’s acclaimed Transformational Hypnotherapy process for creating deep and lasting change in your inner programming and your life.
- The Silva Ultramind System FREE Masterclass: get familiarized with Hose Silva’s techniques and tools for harnessing altered states of mind to awaken your mind’s fullest potential and transform your reality.
- Longevity Blueprint FREE Masterclass: learn more about a blueprint to extraordinary longevity and health, based on leading-edge science and time-tested data from the world’s longest-living cultures, giving you the ultimate solution to a long, healthy, fulfilling life.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON ENSURING SAFETY AS A DIMENSION OF PARENTING CAPACITY
And there you go! That was the most important information concerning ensuring safety as a dimension of parenting capacity. I hope you found this helpful and practical.
And if you have, share it with others whom you believe will benefit from this post!
See you in my next one! 👋