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Parents Surviving and Thriving in Times of Uncertainty: Tapping Into Your Support Networks

We are moving through historical times as our families and community are impacted by two national pandemics: Covid-19 and Racism. In order to ensure the safety of our children, we as parents, guardians, and mentors must check in with our own emotional well-being and ability to practice self-care throughout the process. This resource is meant to serve as a guide to all of you trying to search for the right words say to the next generation.

Dr. Williams and I highlighted a few key points as we developed helpful resources to share:

  • The African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child”.

  • Recognizing and tapping into parental supports and resources from an ecological perspective.

  • Building your support networks and resources if you do not currently have them.

  • Brofennbrenner’s Ecological Model of Human Development.

  • Focus on holistic wellness- the healthier the parent, the better you can be for your family.

  • Who are your key players?

  • Next steps: Check out Module One of the Hand Made Dreams Toolkit.

  • All of these may not match your particular situation, but can be used as a guide to recognize natural supports and/or build beneficial relationships within your communities.

Note about the original model: These are concentric circles that often may influence one another. Bi-directional relationships can be formed across these circles.

Hand Made Dreams: The Parent Guide to Wellness

  1. Individual at the center (The Parent/Guardian): Parent/Guardian- Putting yourself at the center, think about ways to engage in self-care activities such as reciting positive affirmations about yourself daily, utilizing gratitude journals/apps, or even taking a quiet moment of reflection to yourself. It is essential to always keep your needs in the forefront even while caring for your household. As they saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, so be sure to connect with yourself daily even in small ways. You can’t be good to anyone else, if you first are not good to yourself.

  2. Microsystem (Your Life Lines): Think about the people and resources that you would call on if you are in immediate need for support, also known as your life lines. It important that as parent, you have a concrete list of people and places at your fingertips that you can call on when you need a break from your parenting duties to take a night off, are in need of emotional support, or reassurance that you have life currently under control, which we all know as parents can go as quickly as it comes. So who are those resources in your life that are essential to your holistic wellness be it your spirituality, physically/emotionally, or relationships? How are they helping to keep your cup full?

  3. Mesosystem (Bridging the Gap): Think about this as bi-directional relationship building between yourself and your life lines. You must use your support and resources, AKA your life lines, in order to better support the emotional wellness of your family by introducing resources and supports for the betterment of your family. One example is to introduce children’s books that support conversations on race, racism, and resistance.

  4. Exosystem (Community Affirmations): This is your indirect environment, how is this environment impacting you and how can you draw support from these environments as well? Think about your neighbors, local policies, events in your community, safety practices, internet resources  related to parenting and education, and resources related to mental health and wellness, etc. that affirm your position as a parent? Use these community affirmations to your advantage. An example of community resources related to anti-racism and racial justice can be found at

  5. Macrosystem (Gatekeeping): Think about your social and cultural values as a parent. How do societal attitudes about parenting during times of crisis/uncertainty influence the way you are currently operating as a parent? What societal messages are you choosing to take in right now? Which ones should you leave at your front door? And how are you establishing boundaries for yourself and your family? Establishing boundaries means to engage in conversation, so how are you

As we continue to live within times of crisis and uncertainty, we are hopeful that this model will serve as a support to you and a means to maintain emotional health and well-being within your family and community.

Learn more about Dr. Regina Gavin Williams and Ashley L. Witherspoon.

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