Woman standing on a path in a park

Building Inner Strength

Keeping it together—and even growing stronger—during times of stress.

Raising a family is stressful. All parents juggle everyday challenges, face unexpected setbacks and experience emotional hardships. Staying strong and flexible when things get tough can help you guide your family through these difficulties. Knowing how to tap into that inner strength builds parental resilience.

Parental resilience means managing your feelings, solving problems with a clear head, taking care of yourself and sheltering your kids, even when things are difficult. Building inner strength is important because children learn how to deal with challenges by watching you.

Hear from parents

I have to remember to take time out for me, because I can’t pour from an empty cup. And if I fall apart, who’s going to fill my shoes?”

-LaMikka

Inner Strength can look like…

Pressing a pause button

Taking a breath or counting to 10 before you react

Hiking boot

Taking time to recharge

Detour sign

Staying flexible when things don’t go as planned

Ask Yourself…

There are no right answers. Thinking about these questions can help you understand your family’s strengths.

Generally speaking, is your inner voice more positive or more negative? Flip to Learn More
Everyone has an inner voice. The way we think and feel about our daily experiences is called self-talk, and it can be helpful or harmful. Being your own worst critic can damage your self-confidence and can fuel depression. But when that inner voice is positive, you are more likely to feel empowered. When you have negative thoughts, be kind to yourself—just like you’d support someone else—and seek out strategies that help you cope. Back to Question
Do you feel guilty about taking time away from your kids? Flip to Learn More
Sometimes the connection we feel to our kids or the message that we hear from family, friends and even the media makes us feel guilty about getting away. But taking some guilt-free time away from your family responsibilities is a healthy choice for you and your kids. Deliberately set time aside for yourself. Just a few minutes of regular relaxation can go a long way toward building your inner strength. Back to Question
When your child has a problem, do you blame yourself? Flip to Learn More
It’s hard to avoid the self-blame game, especially when you feel pressured to be a perfect parent. Instead of obsessing about what you think you’ve done wrong or could have done differently, focus on the steps you can take to guide and support your child. Letting go of blame, focusing on your child’s needs and moving forward builds your inner strength—and your child’s. Back to Question
Next Question

Building Inner Strength takes practice

Inner strength isn’t something you have or don’t have. It’s more like an emotional muscle that gets stronger the more you use it. There are things you can do to practice resilience before, during and after times of stress.

Try This:

The 5 Strengths are also called Protective Factors.

The language some people use to describe the 5 Strengths may be different. They are also called Protective Factors. But no matter which words you use, research has shown how important these strengths are for families as they navigate the challenges and joys of daily life.

Building Inner Strength

Parental Resilience

Share Your Strength

Tell us about the strategies you used to grow stronger during a challenging time for your family.  By sharing, you might help another family get ideas.  And together we can all become stronger.  By submitting a story, all or part of it may be posted on this website. See .

The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board may use or share my story or any part of it for public awareness and educational purposes. I also understand the Prevention Board may edit my story for length or content. By granting my permission, I release the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, its employees, directors, and agents from any liability related to the disclosure or use of my story or any part of my story.

Woman and man sharing their parenting expertise

Share Your Strength

Tell us about the strategies you used to grow stronger during a challenging time for your family.  By sharing, you might help another family get ideas.  And together we can all become stronger.  By submitting a story, all or part of it may be posted on this website. See .

The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board may use or share my story or any part of it for public awareness and educational purposes. I also understand the Prevention Board may edit my story for length or content. By granting my permission, I release the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, its employees, directors, and agents from any liability related to the disclosure or use of my story or any part of my story.

Thank you!

Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your family. We are unable to publish every story and stories will not appear immediately after being submitted. Stories may be edited for length and context. Also, stories may be incorporated into other Prevention Board resources and materials. Questions? Learn more about our

The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board may use or share my story or any part of it for public awareness and educational purposes. I also understand the Prevention Board may edit my story for length or content. By granting my permission, I release the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, its employees, directors, and agents from any liability related to the disclosure or use of my story or any part of my story.

We appreciate you taking the time to tell us about your family. We are unable to publish every story and stories will not appear immediately after being submitted. Stories may be edited for length and context. Also, stories may be incorporated into other Prevention Board resources and materials.
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Strong families are important.

Strong families support their friends, their communities and future generations.

Explore the 5 Strengths