Healthy parenting begins at Strong Start: Avery’s story

Written by SAFE

Avery is a new mother at a young age. She was in an abusive relationship that spanned throughout her teenage years with her child’s father. She is a survivor of domestic violence and decided to flee from the abusive relationship once the abuse began to escalate during her pregnancy. Avery suffers from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and sleep apnea.

She eventually transitioned out of our shelter into a home in the outskirts of Austin. She often expressed her frustration and anxiety regarding her living situation, being in small quarters with her newly born child. Avery also expressed frustration with her child’s behavior, yelling, crying, and other challenging behaviors.

When Avery began the Strong Start Parenting Program, she often stated behavioral expectations for her child that were not age appropriate. After working with her parent educator to learn what having appropriate and realistic expectations for self and child means, Avery now expresses a sense relief and an extreme weight being lifted from her shoulders. She then had a desire to get back into the working field and become more social. Her parent educator coordinated services with the Strong Start case manager to find an educational program that would assist her in starting her desired career.

After completing the Nurturing Parenting program, Avery now stated the ways in which she gained an understanding, newfound patience, and a stronger bond with her child. Avery was able to reflect on her past experiences and traumas and identify the ways in which cycles may be repeating. She now feels that she is working to stop these cycles.

She no longer feels isolated and has found support in the Strong Start Parenting Program through her parent educator. This support has been not only emotional but tangible. Avery was able to receive educational books and basic needs via the Strong Start Parenting Program. Now that Avery has completed the program she still reaches out from time to time with positive updates about her growth and progress.

*Names were changed to protect identity.