Small Moments are important
We all know that supported childhood conditions are important, but why is the domestic violence coalition talking about them? ICADV is promoting safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments because we believe that is one of the most effective strategies available to all of us for eliminating intimate partner violence.
We believe that when our kids’ needs are met, they will be less likely to use abuse in their closest relationships to compensate for feeling disempowered. And where community members feel connected and share norms of equity and respect in relationships, we will hold one another accountable for abusive behavior. Basically, we believe that by creating communities where all people feel connected, supported and accountable, we will make respectful relationship behavior the easy and expected choice.
We believe that it makes sense to invest our time, care and resources in our kids because that’s where our hearts are, but we know that investing in our kids is also a critical investment in the future health and safety of our communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments “shape the development of children’s physical, emotional, social, behavioral and intellectual capacities, which ultimately affect their health as adults” (CDC, 2014, p.7). By providing great care for all of our kids, we are investing in the future learning, earning, creativity, safety and vibrancy of our communities. And though our strategy focuses on ensuring conditions that support kids as some of the most vulnerable members of our communities, we know that establishing supportive conditions benefits all of us.
Letting parents know about safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments—what they are, the impact that they have on kids’ development, and how to do them—is a great start, but we can’t end there. For most of us, being the best parents that we intend to be requires a little help from our friends. To truly support parents in providing safe, stable and nurturing relationships, we also need to increase supportive opportunities for all of the loving family members, kin and caring professionals who have parents’ backs. And, critically, we have to focus on the broader conditions in which families are raising their children that can make it easier or harder for them to protect and nurture their kids. This focus includes things like family-friendly workplace policies, great educational opportunities, safe neighborhoods, food security and stable housing. All of these factors contribute to the safety and success of families.
Finally, we know that we won’t be successful unless we ensure that these nurturing supports reach all of our children—with particular attention to those who may be experiencing greater adversity because they are living in poverty, living with disabilities, or are experiencing forms of identity-based discrimination. At ICADV, we believe in working together, across communities and professions to ensure the conditions that allow all young people in Indiana to safely grow and thrive.