It’s OK to Ask for Help
This is the second feature in a two-part series on preventing child abuse in North Carolina.
I don’t remember how I first heard about Project Enlightenment’s classes on positive discipline. Or how I worked up the courage to call the free number* to speak to a counselor about behavioral challenges with my toddler. I don’t even remember the issue itself — just that it had me questioning myself as a parent.
Here’s what I do remember: The relief I felt when I asked for and received help. I wasn’t the only parent struggling, and no one expected me to have all the answers.
In case you haven’t heard of it, Project Enlightenment is a Wake County Public School System program for families offering parenting classes, free family and parent counseling, and a lending library resource center, among other services, to families who have children ranging from infants to age 5.
Teresa Veno, the workshop coordinator for Project Enlightenment, says my story isn’t unusual. “We see parents from all socio-economic levels, from the stay-at-home mom to the brand-new immigrant struggling to adapt,” she says. “We all just want to be better parents.”
Parents come to Project Enlightenment by word-of-mouth, or hear about it from their pediatrician or school. Although the counseling resources are only available to Wake County residents, the classes are open to anyone.
Most of the workshops and services are geared toward the preschool years. For parents with older elementary-age kids, Veno recommends the three-week Positive Discipline course. Veno took the course to help better parent her two children when they were younger.
“It’s an entirely different parenting mindset than what many of us grew up with,” she says. “I learned tools then that I’m still using today with my 13-year-old.”
Keys to Healthy Families
Sharon Hirsch, CEO of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, says PCANC supports community-based agencies implementing parenting programs across the state. Hirsch says parenting education and social connection are keys to providing kids with the secure childhoods they need.
“It’s OK to ask for help with parenting and understanding child development,” Hirsch says. “How do I respond when my child has a temper tantrum? What can I expect from my 1-year-old or 5-year-old? Everyone gets challenged by his or her kids. But we can also take advantage of resources to learn how to handle things better the next time.”
There are as many different ways to create strong, happy families as there are families themselves. What worked for me or the parent next door may not work for you. And that’s OK.
What Veno, Hirsch and others like them would like North Carolina parents to know is that it’s OK to ask for parenting help. There are online resources and agencies in every county focused on providing answers. Take advantage of their expertise.
* Project Enlightenment TALKline currently unavailable due to lack of funding.
These agencies offer a variety of programs, workshops and services available directly to parents. No outside referral is required. Many programs are free for county residents.
3825 Barrett Dr., Ste. 104, Raleigh
201 E. Hargett St., Raleigh
501 S. Boylan Ave., Raleigh
864 W. Morgan St., Raleigh
1121 W. Chapel Hill St., Ste. 100, Durham
3708 Lyckan Pkwy., Ste. 103, Durham
721 Foster St., Durham
El Centro Hispano
2000 Chapel Hill Rd., Ste. 26A, Durham
• 104 Jones Ferry Rd., Ste. E, Carrboro
• 500 N, Nash St., Hillsborough
• 200 Sanford Rd., Ste. 8, Pittsboro