I Would Like To Tell Anyone In A Violent Relationship to Leave

sallys-daughter-2How ACF’s Non-Violence Parenting Program:  Skills to Acquiring Mastery of Parenting (STAMP), Raising Safe Kids & Supportive Housing have helped my family.

As a mom, I will never forget the look of terror in my small children’s eyes as they stood in their pajamas in their bedroom doorway crying, as I lay on the floor beaten until my eardrum was ruptured.  Years later, that image is as vivid for me as it must be for my children.

Housing allowed us to flee our abuser, my children’s father, and not live in constant fear day and night.  However, even in our safe new apartment, it wasn’t long before it was clear we still lived out the same patterns of behavior.  I knew I needed to do something, so I signed up for STAMP parenting class with a group of other parents.  The parenting class helped me learn good techniques and nonviolent responses to deal with my children’s behavior.  It also helped me understand why my children behaved the way they did, as their response had a lot to do with the past abusive experiences. I saw how my understanding of their actions and responding to them in a loving consistent positive manner began to make a difference.

The Road To Success

sallys-daughter1Success didn’t happen overnight, or even after a few sessions, I continue to work on being better every single day, as I parent.  Having a STAMP instructor who had similar life experiences and is a single mom makes me feel like she understands.  It also helps to have support of other STAMP parents who offered to me suggestions and support outside of the sessions.

Learning to raise children to be nonviolent means teaching my children not to be violent, but also not to tolerate violence from others. Because of the parenting class, I learned violence doesn’t always occur in a home.  I learned it was happening with bullying at school, in music, in social media, in video gamming, and on television.  So, I taught my children that it wasn’t ok for someone to bully them in or out of school and how to report any instance of violence to me and school officials.  I did the same for cyber bullying that may occur on Facebook.  I taught them to never tolerate bullying, even if it meant we had to file a police report.  It showed my children that reporting violence was a way to stop the violence, and that we have no tolerance for anyone to treat us with acts or threats of violence again!

My Advice to Others

sallys-daughters-art-projectI would like to tell anyone in a violent relationship to leave.  There is help out there.  But just leaving doesn’t undo the harm you or your children have experienced.  It takes a lot of work to deprogram and not fall back into the same bad habits that either enabled the violence or poor responses to the trauma my children would play out in their behavior.  However, it is all worth it for my children to learn what a loving, caring, and safe family life is like for them now and for their entire future.

What I wish I knew then that I learned from STAMP:

  • My children are not misbehaving for attention or trying to hurt me. Their behavior is a “symptom” of the repeated violence they were exposed to.
  • Just because the children didn’t receive the physical violence, witnessing or overhearing their mom being abused was just as harmful.
  • Establishing consequences for my children’s misbehavior helps them learn a lesson about why the behavior is wrong, and how to prevent it from continuing to happen in the future.
  • Take all threats seriously.
  • Having an awareness of victimization and role model teaches my children how to avoid the risk of re-victimization in the future.
  • Violence is NOT normal. We live in a world that is over tolerant of violence and I don’t want my children to think it is “ok” or normal to live in violence or fear.  Take every opportunity to talk about why it is not.

 

Family Violence is Preventable.

If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic or family violence, call (330) 823-7223 or for more information visit Health Path Ohio.

Bobbi-resized

Meet Bobbie

“My oldest son is now in college on a basketball scholarship, my daughter is an honor roll student and my three younger children are leading full healthy lives thanks to Alliance for Children and Families and the Mastroianni Family Center.”

Bobbie's Story

In May of 2013, Bobbie Hardin moved to Alliance Ohio with her mother and her 5 children (1 girl and 4 boys).

Bobbie reached out to the Stark County Homeless Hotline for assistance where she was greeted with, as Bobbie puts it “welcome and empathy”.  Alliance for Children & Families immediately placed her and her family in Emergency Housing.

Not long after Bobbie received a call from a team member at Alliance for Children & Families with some great news…

“They told me there was an opening for Permanent Supportive Housing at the Mastroianni Family Center.   When I went to look at the place we would soon call home, I thought, this is really nice.”

Access to Amazing Programs

The support they received from Alliance for Children & Families didn’t end with housing.  Bobbie had access to dozens of classes like parenting, money management, nutrition and more.

The support continued for her children who had access to a tutor, music lessons, arts & crafts, trips to the zoo and most importantly, a safe and secure place to call home.

“I stayed in the A-F.I.R.S.T Permanent Supportive Housing for 2 wonderful years.  My family and I had access to local doctors, dentists, employment coaching and even received memberships to the YMCA.”

Bobbie's Family Today and a Heartfelt Thanks

Bobbie has had steadfast employment with the same employer since joining the Alliance Community.  Her oldest son is playing college basketball on scholarship and her oldest daughter is on the honor roll.

Bobbie is thankful for all the caring individuals she met through Alliance for Children & Families and the amazing support she received.

“I am so glad to have been a part of this program and I can confidently say that moving here was one of the greatest things that has ever happened to my family.  Thank you to Alliance Children and Families and the Mastroianni Family Center.”

Bobbi-Son

Bobbie and her son at his High School Graduation.