CARE House, with a grant from Impact100 Oakland County, has initiated a new program for families to prevent abuse. Nurturing Oakland Parents brings parents and kids together to help bridge gaps and build empathy.
Over fifteen weeks, at risk families with kids aged 5-12 will come to CARE House, share a meal, and break into groups. The parents will meet for guided discussions designed to reinforce these values:
• Positive self-worth
• Empowerment of children
• Open communication
At the same time, the kids will participate in volunteer-led play groups which mirror the themes of each weekly discussion. The structure of the program helps to strengthen familial bonds, and to establish new ones among program participants.
The basis of the program comes from the work of Stephen J. Bavolek, Ph.D, who completed an intensive study of cases of child abuse to determine shared commonalities among them. He found five constructs of belief common among parents who had abused their children:
• Inappropriate expectations of their child’s developmental capabilities
• A low level of empathy toward their child’s needs
• A strong belief in the value of corporal punishment
• A reversal of the parent-child familial roles
• A belief in restricting their child’s power and independence
The goal of the program is for participating families to experience positive changes in beliefs across these five factors, while developing knowledge of nurturing parenting skills. Parents will complete inventory surveys at the beginning and end of the program to measure developments in parenting beliefs and in their ability to communicate. The program has shown vast improvements in parent-child relations.
11 families will participate in each session. The lessons they learn and carry forward, with the strength and support of their new connections, will break the cycle of abuse and benefit Oakland County for generations to come.