Meet Mary*. By nine, her addicted mother was out of the picture and she and her siblings were being raised by their recently released but “clean” father. At 16, Mary moved in with her boyfriend six years her senior, partying became their way of life. At 19, she was pregnant and her life forever changed. In and out of extremely abusive relationships, moving from city to city, Mary found herself pregnant with her second child. Another boyfriend, more abuse, more drugs, and with kids witnessing the destruction, Mary was arrested and the kids taken away for their safety. Mary said, “I was getting sober, I was getting compliments, and then I decided to go to Progress House. I started to work on myself. People started telling me that they were proud of me. My family started to communicate with me again. It was sobriety; I started loving myself again. I listened to people, doing what people were asking of me. As my relationship with my children began to grow, I started to become okay with myself.”
With her children in foster care, Mary and her kids are receiving support from many community resources. Mary admits her parenting was poor and wanted to take advantage of all the services, especially with positive parenting skills. Mary is learning the difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline includes everything you do to teach your child good behavior, not just reacting to misbehavior. Following through with consequences, being consistent with her kids, creating boundaries and routine, role modeling staying calm are some of the positive parenting skills Mary is learning. She sees it working too and even better, Mary’s children are respecting her. Mary is forever grateful for all the support she is receiving and we know that she is going to be a great parent. For further information about positive parenting, visit the Child Abuse Prevention Council at www.edccapc.org.
*For confidentiality purposes and out of respect, Mary is a fictitious name.
Judy Knapp-Prevention Works and Sheryce Allendorf- Sierra Children and Families Services
El Dorado County is a great place to live. We have beautiful scenery: rivers, lakes, snow-capped mountain; incredible school systems that meet the needs of the vast majority of our community’s children; we have many and varied opportunities for recreation for the young and old alike; El Dorado County can be a great place to live – unless you are a child that suffers from neglect or abuse. While we would like to believe that is not a problem in our community, it is. To believe otherwise is to ignore our strength and capacity to at reduce, if not eliminate, this problem.
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.
This week, the Child Abuse Prevention Council would like to share the incredible work that is being carried out every day by non-governmental organizations in our community that help to prevent, intervene and treat family situations that may result in child abuse.
In addition, there are an incredible number of opportunities for young people to participate in non-academic growth opportunities including community sports and recreational programs, boy and girl scouts, school sports, programs through the faith community, etc.
David Ashby El Dorado County Child Abuse Prevention Council