Stopping Child Abuse Before it Starts

The problem of child abuse spans all demographics. No matter your color, race, income or background, child abuse can be found in your community.

In fact, there are more child abuse and neglect related fatalities in Harris County than anywhere else in Texas.

Lidya Osadchey runs the ESCAPE Family Resource Center. Her organization operates on the premise that child abuse is
100 percent preventable. She says many people simply don't know how to be parents.

"For parents, mostly, it's a day to day experiment. They don't know ... we don't know what to expect ... what to expect from children's peers, from the schools. And therefore, learning how to handle conflict, how to handle crisis, how to manage yourself in time of stress."

ESCAPE offers parenting classes seven days a week all across the city. You can take the classes in English, Spanish or Chinese.
Osadchey says healthy parenting isn't something you learn by osmosis, even if you grew up in a happy home.

"It's very stressful to be a parent. And what a relief it is when we learn how to handle that, that we don't have to blow, because we will feel bad afterwards. Nobody wants to be a bad parent, we all want to do the best we can for our children."

The classes cover a variety of topics like stress management, how to communicate with children at various developmental
stages and what kind of discipline is appropriate. There are classes for single parents, families going through divorce and even for grandparents who are raising their grandkids and the children go through their own classes too.

"In a home where parents are attuned to children, it doesn't mean hovering over them, it doesn't mean doing everything they ask, it's really learning what's appropriate and what's not. And how to respond to stress appropriately and how to manage your own emotions and how to discipline children in such a way that it's a learning lesson for them, not a fear of punishment."

CPS confirmed more than 5,000 cases of child abuse in Harris County last year and placed nearly 2,000 children in foster care.
For more information about ESCAPE's parenting classes, visit Learn To Parent.Org.

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