As we enter the final months of this year, we continue to face uncertainty and even more change. One of the best things we can do for ourselves and to support all the families in our community is to create connection.
Building a sense of community is good for everyone. Nothing is more life-affirming than feeling connected.
At Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, we’ve heard from lots of people who are concerned with the decline in calls reporting suspected child abuse to the DCS hotline. People are worried that kids are unsafe at home, and that because they have less contact with other protective adults (like teachers, counselors, and childcare workers), their situations are going unreported.
I’d like to present a different perspective: what if we looked at this time as a chance to get ahead of the problem of child abuse, which can happen when parents are isolated, lack resources, and lack parenting knowledge and coping skills?
What if each one could connect with and support families in our community so abuse and neglect don’t happen in the first place?
Right now, things are tough for everyone. Pretending things aren’t tough can be toxic.
So if you’re a parent, know that it’s okay—in fact, it’s more than okay, it’s critical—to share your feelings. To talk about how tough things are. To laugh about the funny stuff, and cry about the hard stuff.
Sharing our emotions (doubts, fears, hopes, and even joy), and talking about the ways we’re coping (or aren’t coping) creates connection which, in today’s world, is more important than ever.
So what can we do to feel more connected, and to help others feel more connected? First, we can share our feelings with friends and family members.
And, although it may feel a bit awkward at first, we can make new connections. Introduce yourself to your neighbors if you haven’t already. Make a point of talking with the people around you. Offer to help in any way you can.
This isn’t just about supporting families, it’s about building community. Because together, we’re so much better.
Editor’s Note: look for the Strong Families, Happy Kids column in every issue of Prescott Woman Magazine. It’s designed to support parents with actionable tips and strategies they can use to create optimal environments for their children to thrive. To learn more about Prevent Child Abuse Arizona’s mission and resources visit www.pcaaz.org