April is the month of the child. This month is set aside to look at all of the issues surrounding children. Nonprofits and Child Advocacy Groups work to bring awareness to all issues which effect children. As a parent educator, coach, and advocate on behalf of children and families. I have a few things I would like to contribute.
I had just graduated from college and I applied for a job at a summer camp. This was a Kiwanis Camp in Missouri and I loved it. As the Art and Crafts Instructor, I got to plan how children used thier experiences outdoors and turn them into art pieces they could keep forever. By far the saddest part of my job was entering data which showed about 20% of the children at camp were considered the sole member of their family. Why? These were children from local Children's Home for one reason or another could not live safely with their birth families.
Little did I know at the time, this camp set in motion me finding the life's work I am most passionate about. I have been a parent educator, coach, and parent/child advocate. I started my journey trying ro figure out what children really wanted and I found 97% of these children want to be able to go home to their birth families and be safe and happy. Then I started to look at the root of the issue for why these children could not or should not return home. The answer may surprise you.
The NUMBER ONE issue is parental stress and poor or non-existent skills in stress relief .
In fact research shows the number of child abuse cases and the number of families needing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are directly related. This shows just as financial stress causes marital problems; it can also lead to poor parenting choices. One thing to realize is Child Abuse/Neglect effects people from all races, creeds, religions, and social economic levels. We often can see stress better when families need TANF. Nevertheless, stress is not an issue reserved for the poor.
While I support greatly those of my fellow advocates asking for stiffer sentences and greater consequences for the perpetrators of child abuse. It is my personal mission to see it eradicated! The only way to eliminate child abuse is to teach parents positive parenting and the self-care skills they need to handle stress and stress related causes.
It is my belief most people who suspect parents are hurting their child do not say anything; because they do not want the parent to get into trouble. Here is something to consider. The parent is already in trouble. The old adage hurt people hurt people applies here. The number one instinct of most adults is to protect a child especially their child at all cost from hurt, harm, and danger.
So, if a parent is the cause of the hut, harm and danger there is a serious disconnect. Being willing to step up may be the only thing between they and their child being safe and that child becoming one of the 10 children each day in America who die at the hand of their parent.
Here are some things you can do:
- Give them the Crisis Text Hotline Number--741741
- Talk with them about your concerns and offer to keep the child when they are feeling stressed.
- Get them to go to a Parents Anomalous Meeting with you.
- Get a group of friends together to support each other with parenting issues.
- Give them a gift certificate for Parent Support Classes, Call 2-1-1 in your area for local parenting services.
- Anomalously refer them to their child's school social worker or parent liaison for help.
- Call the Child Help Hotline to anomalously report abuse 1-800-4-A-Child
- Contact me and I will walk you through what ever you need! 770-256-3281/Barbara@ptanda.org
Believe in Parenting