Thousands of children have been surrendered through safe haven laws nationwide by desperate parents. Parents sometimes need help with raising their children. Before you drop them off or lose your mind, consider these ten ideas.
The intent of the safe haven law is to allow parents to bring their infants to a “safe haven” for protection and care when they cannot meet the child’s needs.
There is a need for families to have sufficient and appropriate services and support when they have difficulty with one or more of their children. The more frequent, difficult and complex the child’s problems are, the more likely that the youth will come to the attention of a public agency. In times of severe budget cuts, agencies often do not have the funds necessary to provide adequate services for high need youth and their families. Everyone from the youth to the family, to the youth-serving agency become frustrated because they are not seeing the changes that will help the youth and family be stable and lead pro-social lifestyles. So what is a parent to do?
10 suggestions for parents who have considered taking their children to Nebraska to drop them off
- Seek help from a counseling center, school, or minister.
- Read books and articles and watch TV programs on how to help your child. (I like this one)
- Reinforce the behaviors you want the child to do. You can reinforce with something that the youth received automatically in the past (such as TV or game time) but now has to earn by demonstrating certain behaviors, like coming into the house on time. Stick to your rules and don’t give in to the child’s upset at being deprived.
- Set good limits and boundaries for children, while giving them adequate love and nurturing.
- Enroll your children in positive community activities, especially if you work long hours. Adult supervision is very important to the wellbeing of youth.
- Be more positive than negative. Everyone needs to feel good about themselves, so while correcting mistakes, find many ways to tell your child how well he is doing in another area, such as basketball or cleaning up his room (Well, maybe not). Some children act out because they have experienced trauma in the past or they have an emotional problem. Take your young person to a local mental health facility for an evaluation to see what he needs.
- Some children respond negatively if the parents in the household are fighting or arguing with each other. If this is the case, seek marital or family counseling.
- Some teens may be reacting to a parent that has their own difficulties with substance abuse, mental illness, or criminal behavior. Family, church and community members can step in to support that family member and encourage them to get help. If the family member will not change, then help support the child. Community members need to step up to the plate and help each other when they can.
- When you can’t do it yourself seek professional help. Look in the phone book or ask someone whose opinion you trust.
- Know where your children are, what they are doing and who they are with. Talk to them about their activities, thoughts, hopes, fears, and plans. Let them know you care about what is going on in their lives. Turn off the TV for one hour and do something as a family.
Parenting is not easy. Most of us could use a little help in raising our children. After all, “they did not come with instruction manuals.” Don’t be afraid to ask. Someone has had the same problem you are having with your child and will have some useful ideas. Sometimes that is a neighbor or friend, but sometimes it is a professional. Don’t wait until you have a huge problem; get some help and support when the problem is small. It is much easier to manage them. Good luck; keep your chin up; You can do it.