Strong Families, Happy Kids: Parenting Tips from Prevent Child Abuse Arizona
This past year has been tough for society as a whole. Collectively, we’re going through a complete transformation in the way we live.
It’s hitting families with children in some unique ways: students are schooling at home part- or full-time, which means working parents have to come up with childcare, shift to working from home (or shift to working from home while children are schooling from home), or possibly even stop working to stay home with their kids.
For kids, this change in routine means they don’t see their friends and, in many cases, can’t do the activities they normally would (like sports or clubs).
This pandemic is contributing to the factors that research shows lead to child abuse in the first place: social isolation, lack of resources, and stress. And for parents who have distrust in systems, shame around asking for help, and generational poverty, they may not reach out.
While recent news articles and opinion pieces have shown that people are worried child abuse may be going unreported since kids aren’t getting into schools, we’d like to shift that focus:
How can we support families so that abuse doesn’t occur in the first place?
Prevent Child Abuse Arizona has launched “Lean On Me AZ,” a project designed to generate tools and messages to help everyone take action to support families.
During our discussion groups as part of this project, we gleaned some wonderful ideas:
- Visit with families in your neighborhood to see how they’re feeling. Listen to them, give empathy, and offer to help in any way you can (maybe you could bring by some books or games, or food).
- Give parents and caregivers time to share their experiences and perspective, to “vent,” to tell their stories. Just listen.
- Offer a friendly smile to a parent whose child is throwing a tantrum in the store.
The bottom line: make connections.
Listen, offer empathy, acknowledge how hard parenting is right now, and do it all without judgment.
To help children, we need to be there for their caregivers. We’re all part of this community, and together, we can help ensure its children can thrive.
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