Take a look at this educational card to find information about healthy relationships, relationship safety, and supportive resources. For information about how to use this card with families, please refer to the Implementing Universal Education Strategies on Domestic Violence in Head Start Program.
For best printing results, we recommend you download this resource and take to a printer.
Everyone deserves to have partners who respect and listen to them. Ask yourself, do you feel:
- Safe and supported
- Treated with kindness that makes you feel loved
- Supported in your parenting/caregiving of your child
- You can take space when you need it
Everyone deserves to be cared for and respected in their relationships. Healthy relationships are good for parents and help children grow to be healthy and happy.
Are There Times When a Partner:
- Hurts me or makes me feel afraid for myself or my child?
- Puts me down, insults, or embarrasses me?
- Controls where I go, who I see and how I spend my money?
- Tells me I am a bad parent and threatens to take away my children?
If you experience these things, it's not your fault and it's not OK to be treated this way. There are people and programs that can help.
Many adults (about one in four) grew up in homes where there was abuse or other problems when they were children, like:
- Someone hurting them
- Seeing a parent or caregiver being hurt
- Drug or alcohol misuse at home
These experiences—even if they happened a long time ago—can affect your health, your relationships and how you parent. But, even when we've had hard experiences, there is hope. There are things that can help and make us stronger.
How Is Your Child Doing?
Young children and even babies can feel stressed when they live in homes where there is a lot of fighting. Sometimes children may:
- Have trouble sleeping, nursing, or eating
- Behave aggressively in their play or with other children
- Seem withdrawn or have more worries
- Feel frustrated and cry more easily
- Feel a lot of pains like headaches and stomachaches
Things can get better. You and other adults can help turn things around.
There are simple things you can do to help support your child to heal and grow:
- Let them know that whatever is happening is not their fault
- Have fun with them and show them they are special
- Show and tell them that you love them
- Calm voices, calm hands, hugs, and cuddling helps them
- Celebrate one positive thing you do with your child every day
You Matter a Lot
Your well-being is important, and it's important for your child. When things are stressful, it’s easy to forget about taking care yourself:
- Remember the things that bring you comfort and do more of that
- Talk to people you trust about what is happening
- Do your best to get sleep and some exercise
- Try taking deep breaths, splashing water on your face, or taking a walk as a first step
Helping a Friend
Everyone feels helpless at times or like nothing they do is right.
This can be a bigger problem if you have a partner who is unsupportive or unsafe. Connecting with other parents, friends, or family members might help you feel less alone. You can also make a difference by helping others who may be feeling the same way by letting them know they are not alone. Try saying, "Hey, I’ve been there too. Someone gave me this card and it helped give me ideas on places to go to get support and feel safe."
Research shows that when we help others we see the good in ourselves, too.
Finding strategies to keep yourself and your child safe depends on your unique circumstances. If your safety is at risk:
- Remember what you have done in the past that has worked to keep you safe
- Place the baby or child out of the way so they can be safe
- Create a list of helpful people in case of an emergency (e.g. faith leader, friend, family, police)
- Prepare an emergency kit in case you have to leave in a hurry. Include money, hotline numbers, phone charger, keys, medicines, a change of clothes and important documents (birth certificates and shot records) in your kit.
The numbers on the back of this card can help you think through your next steps.
National confidential hotlines can connect you to your local resources and provide support. For free help 24 hours a day, call:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-Safe (800-799-7233); TTY 800-787-3224
- StrongHearts Native Helpline: 844-762-8483
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health National Helpline: 800-662-HELP (5347)
- If you have concerns about parenting or need support, call: Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 800-4-A-Child (800-422-4453)
Resource Type: Publication
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Audience: Family Service Workers
Last Updated: October 16, 2023