It takes a community to prevent child abuse, neglect

Preventing child abuse and neglect is a community concern. That’s the driving theme behind National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which raises awareness of the need for families and communities to work together to end the cycle.

Meredith Keppel is the parenting coordinator at the Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth, which offers a variety of programs for parents of young children, pre-teens and teens.

The focus for individual families is to emphasize to parents to “try to be more empathetic, sympathetic, with your child, and to think about the potential consequences,” Keppel said.

The program offerings from the Office on Youth cover a gamut of different life situations. For Kids Sake is a program specific to situations involving parental divorce and separation with the goal of providing parents, step-parents and grandparents knowledge and skills to nurture their children through the difficult process of family divorce or separation.

Loving Solutions is for parents and other caregivers of challenging 4-11 year olds. The class helps parents determine what issues are negotiable, using time-outs effectively, chore cooperation, sibling relationships, and improving school success and information on ADD/ADHD.

Love and Logic teaches simple, effective techniques, focusing on how to replace anger with empathy and allowing natural, logical consequences to do the teaching.

“Yelling and screaming is not the answer. Spanking is not the answer. Time out is always the better route,” Keppel said. “The better approach is always to be calm in dealing with your children. Dealing with a child in anger is never the right way to go. You need to take anger out of the equation.”

– Story by Chris Graham