Child Abuse Prevention Month: Strong Start supports healthy families

Written by SAFE

mother with son, with sun shining behindA few months ago, our Strong Start staff had the pleasure of meeting Bridget and her young son, Elías. Bridget was a single mother of taking care of Elías, who was just 2 years old when they came to SAFE.

During our first phone call with Bridget, we talked about her family—in particular her relationship with her ex-husband and her experience with domestic violence. She said that Elías had witnessed the physical and psychological abuse that she endured.

Bridget had previously received support at a local shelter where she was able to get wrap around services for her and Elías. But she was facing many challenges with her son’s behavior, while also seeking employment and looking for a new place to live.

When discussing her parenting challenges, she told our Parent Educator that Elías would hit her, scream, and run away from her. He would yell the word “NO” when she tried to redirect him.

She felt triggered by her son’s behavior at times and didn’t know what to do when she felt overwhelmed. Although Elías had witnessed a lot of abuse, because he was only 2 years old, he was too young to receive therapy support.

He also faced other barriers, such as a speech delay, and he had no interest in transitioning from nursing to a bottle or sippy cup.

Bridget met with her Strong Start Parent Educator twice a month and stayed actively engaged in those sessions, asking questions, role playing, and completing homework. At first, she doubted the program, but by her fourth session, she started to see progress with Elías and even within herself.

She said that she was beginning to understand her son’s behaviors, how to problem solve with him to make better choices, and how she needed to use self-calming techniques so Elias didn’t trigger her or vice versa.

“This program has helped me strengthen my relationship with my son,” Bridget said after one of our sessions. “This program has given me the tools I need to help me and (my son) when dealing with tantrums. It has given me hope and confidence.”

After 10 sessions using the Triple P curriculum, Bridget has had many achievements. She has a part time job, she will be moving into her own place soon, and most importantly, she has strengthened her relationship with her son.

About Strong Start

SAFE’s Strong Start program  empowers families through early childhood services and family support. Strong Start is for parents of children 0-11 years of age who are seeking positive strategies to improve their kids’ behavior and reduce the stress of parenting.

Respect, routines, expectations and consequences can be difficult for everyone in the family to follow. Our focus is on building successful and resilient children through strengthening the parent-child relationship and preserving families.