A child's early experience of being nurtured and developing a bond with a caring adult affects all aspects of behavior and development. When parents and children have strong, warm feelings for one another, children develop trust that their parents will provide what they need to thrive, including love, acceptance, positive guidance, and protection.
Research shows that babies who receive affection and nurturing from their parents have the best chance of healthy development. A child's relationship with a consistent, caring adult in the early years is associated later in life with better academic grades, healthier behaviors, more positive peer interactions, and an increased ability to cope with stress.
Attachment: What Works? (PDF - 564 KB)
Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (2011)
Explains attachment and its importance, describes the characteristics of children with secure or insecure attachment relationships, notes cultural differences in attachment, and provides strategies teachers and caregivers can use to promote children's secure attachment.
A Comprehensive Framework for Nurturing the Well-Being of Children and Adolescents (PDF - 676 KB)
In Integrating Safety, Permanency and Well-Being
Presents a framework to ensure successful youth development and well-being for children who have been maltreated, or are at risk of being maltreated, indicating that comprehensive family support from prenatal/birth through adolescence is necessary to aid children in recovering after abuse has occurred and to prevent future maltreatment.
Family Strengthening Research (PDF - 1,598 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, and Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) (2014)
Provides Federal and State policymakers, program administrators, and researchers with summaries of OPRE's Division of Family Strengthening's major research investments in fiscal year 2013 and overviews of past projects that include strengthening relationships within families, supporting fatherhood, nurturing children through their families, reducing teen pregnancy, and supporting youth in their transition to adulthood.
Nurturing Parenting Programs
Family Development Resources (2014)
Includes product catalog, training resources, research, validation, and related links for the Nurturing Parenting Program, which promotes nurturing parenting attitudes and skills for the prevention and treatment of child abuse.
The Nurturing Parenting Programs and the Six Protective Factors: The Effectiveness of Theory, Research and Practice for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect (PDF - 1,475 KB)
Bavolek & Rogers (2012)
Describes the Nurturing Parenting Programs to help families who have come to the attention of social services for child abuse and neglect and program efforts to build six critical protective factors in families. Information on the history and development of the protective factors, statistics on the Nurturing Parenting Programs, the identification of abusive and neglectful parenting practices, and the development of the Nurturing Parenting Programs and assessment also are included.
Strengthening Families: Nurturing and Attachment (PDF - 897 KB)
Diehl, Wente, & Forthun (2011)
Offers information and tips for parents on how to be nurturing in a way that encourages healthy attachment.