Mateo’s mother, Elena, came to me worried. Elena didn’t know what to do about her 3-year-old son’s behavior issues. Being a young single mother, she needed help dealing with the stress of a child who just wouldn’t listen.
“I’m scared when he runs across the street and doesn’t listen when I tell him to stop. I’m so scared he’s going to get hurt. Then, I get really angry and worry my anger will take over, like my parents did with me.” Often, these stressful moments of parenting are what can put a child at risk of abuse. As a Parent & Child Educator at Safe & Sound, I counsel parents every day to help them manage these situations and keep their children safe.
While I counseled Elena during weekly one-on-one sessions, our therapeutic caregivers supported Mateo’s behavior and social-emotional learning in our Children’s Playroom. Elena and I talked about simple things like setting expectations, getting physically down to Mateo’s level, and making eye contact to help him listen. We also created a reward chart to focus Mateo on his listening skills and behavior.
Recently, Elena came to me with relief. After six months, Mateo was holding her hand to cross the street and his overall behavior had improved. More importantly, Elena used the skills she learned during our sessions to better react to Mateo and manage her own frustration and stress. She no longer feared what she might do. It was wonderful to hear how much she was learning to help her own family. Equally exciting, she told me that she had started a parenting class at her church to share her new skills with other parents.
With your support, Safe & Sound will continue to teach parents like Elena the tools that they need to keep their children safe, help kids like Mateo to grow socially and emotionally, and join with other organizations to build a community of care for all families. By joining together to empower families, we can reach our goal to end child abuse in San Francisco in 50 years.
Please join us by making an impactful gift to our programs that help hundreds of children, families, and communities we serve every day. Together, we will ensure all children are safe, families are strong, and communities are sound. Thank you for partnering to end child abuse and strengthen families.