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Supporting Parents in Public

Supporting Parents in Public. The Wakanheza Project: Keeping children safe by lending a hand to parents during difficult situations. Wakanheza (Sacred Being)- Dakota Word for Child. Founded in 2002 by the Ramsey County Child Abuse Prevention Council.

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Supporting Parents in Public

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  1. Supporting Parents in Public The Wakanheza Project: Keeping children safe by lending a hand to parents during difficult situations.

  2. Wakanheza (Sacred Being)- Dakota Word for Child Founded in 2002 by the Ramsey County Child Abuse Prevention Council The Vision: By lending a hand to parents and children, we can make our community a better place. When we witness a stressful situation for parents, we often want to step in and help, but don’t know how. Wakanheza offers simple tips on how to assist parents and children in stressful situations.

  3. QUESTION How might someone feel, or what might someone think when they… … encounter a family in a public setting? … hear a child crying in a public place? … see or hear a parent losing his or her temper in public?

  4. Establishing Empathy What is Empathy? The ability to identify with and understand another person’s situation, feelings and motives. Why would parents feel stress when they take their children out in public?

  5. The Role of the Environment How can the environment affect a parent’s stress level? What are the characteristics of a family-friendly environment?

  6. Non-Judgment In order to help, judgment must be avoided. Don’t label parents as “bad” or “abusive.” QUESTION: Have you ever made a judgment about a person that turned out to be incorrect? How did this bias affect your ability to interact with the person you judged?

  7. What is Abuse? Abuse is categorized into four types: 1.) Physical 2.) Sexual 3.) Emotional 4.) Neglect

  8. QUESTION At the museum, what parental behaviors are commonly seen or reported as being disruptive or abusive? Now label each of these as “Abuse” “Inappropriate” or “Appropriate”

  9. Powerlessness “Acts of violence in our society are performed largely by those trying to establish their self esteem, to defend their self image, and to demonstrate that they, too, are significant…violence arises not out of power but of powerlessness.” –Rollo May QUESTION: Can you recall a situation in which you felt powerless?

  10. Culture We all bring culture to the world in many ways. We are all different, but we can all empathize with fellow humans and respectfully reach across perceived cultural barriers to lend a hand.

  11. The Role of the Community It takes a village to raise a child. Although children may be influenced primarily by the examples set by their parents, children also learn from the examples set forth by members of the community.

  12. The Moment Wakanheza is about understanding that we all have moments where we are not at our best, but as empathetic people we are able to recognize and reach out to help others when they are having those difficult moments. QUESTION: Have you ever done something in front of a child that you regretted because it set a bad example?

  13. Prepare Yourself to Intervene • Avoid Judgment of Parents • Assess the Situation • Assess Yourself • Decide What to Do

  14. Ways to Intervene Appreciate families and the job of parenting by: • Smiling • Saying something positive about the parents and their children

  15. Ways to Intervene Assure parents that their children’s behaviors are okay by: • Saying something positive to assure the parents that children will be children • Sharing a story of your own

  16. Ways to Intervene Help out by: • Lending a hand by opening a door or offering to carry something • Asking if there is anything you can do to help QUESTION: Have you ever benefited from the kindness of a stranger?

  17. Escalating Situations What do you do when a parent moves from frustration to anger? • Show understanding • Offer the parent encouragement • Strike up an unrelated conversation • Offer a positive comment QUESTION: What other phrases can you use in situations that are escalating?

  18. Call for Help If you see a child in danger of serious physical harm, or if you think a child has been left alone. • If you are assisting families at the museum, follow museum procedures. • If you are in a public place, contact the police. • If you are in a building, contact an on-site security guard or employee who you think could help.

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