Several years ago, a mother called a parent resource line. She had locked herself in the bathroom with her cell phone because she was afraid she would hurt her 2-year-old. Once the parent educator was sure that the child was safe, she concentrated on the mother’s concern. The young mom said, “I was abused as a child and I vowed I would never do that to my child, but now I find myself wanting to hit him.”
Despite old patterns, this mother wanted to do a better job of parenting than she had experienced. By reaching out for help and information, she avoided being an abusive parent, and a young child was protected from the cycle of generational abuse.
Parenting is a learned skill. No one is born knowing how to be a good parent. As in the example above, many parents may not want to use their own childhoods as the basis for their own parenting. Other parents may just be looking for new strategies for parenting their children. The good news is that our community has many resources for parents to expand their skills and become better at nurturing and caring for their children.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a great time for us to point out resources in our community that are available to create new patterns for families. Most are free and many offer Spanish-language services.
Parenting Now! offers parenting education/support services for parents of children ages 0-8. They are open to all families and include drop-in programs such as Playtime for Parents and Children. We also host Baby Connection for parents of newborns. Contact: 86 Centennial Loop, Eugene; 541-484-5316.
Relief Nursery, Inc. offers strength-based family support services for families with low incomes who have children under age 6; includes home visits, crisis response, therapeutic early childhood classes and more. Contact: Eugene – 1720 West 25th Ave. 541-343-9706; Springfield – 850 South 42nd St., 541-485-0007.
Healthy Families Lane County provides free home visits to qualifying families that are first-time parents. Staff visitors bring information on child development, health and safety information and more. Contact: 151 West 7th Ave., Eugene 541-682-7425.
The Family Info Line, or 211, is offered by United Way. 211 is a phone service that connects callers with a variety of services all over Lane County. The 211 Family Info Line at extension 5 can provide help and resources to families who need support. Call 211, extension 5 or visit 211info.org.
The Internet is a great resource for parents while they are raising their children, and especially helpful when their concerns are troubling. Visit these websites for information that can help parents prevent, recognize or end child abuse:
These are just a few of the resources that provide education and training in our community. Change begins with information and support. Thank you for spreading the word about these resources and helping to end the cycle of abuse.
Lynne Swartz is executive director of Parenting Now! and a research scientist focused on families and children. Parenting Now! is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening families through parent support and education. Explore this site or our Facebook page, or call 541-484-5316. Parents may also contact the Family Info Line by calling 211, extension 5, or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org