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