A Mother in Crisis
One of the ways that Parents Helping parents pursues its child abuse prevention mission is through the provision of the Parental Stress Line – toll-free confidential helpline for parents who need to discuss issues related to their children. Trained volunteer counselors answer the parental Stress Line and offer support, empathy, encouragement, information, referrals, and crisis intervention. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Counselors use a strengths-based approach in assisting callers, provide support that draws on callers’ inner strength and offer information and referrals to community resources.
For example, recently, the mother of a 17-year-old daughter called. She was extremely distraught over her daughter’s stealing shoes from a store. And that was only the tip of the iceberg! This child was not coming home at night, was skipping school, smoking pot, and having alcohol in the house. The daughter was defiant towards her mother and the two had been fighting frequently over her behavior. The father, an alcoholic himself, was not much help, and the mother had no other family supports – in short, she was desperate for a non-judgemental listening ear and someone to help problem-solve with her. During the call, this mother expressed concern that her daughter had Bipolar Disorder, something that was prevalent in the family. She also explained that the specific reason for her call was to get guidance as to whether or not she should ground her daughter for stealing or propose an alternative idea-the daughter could choose to attend church rather than being grounded.
The trained counselor responded to the caller by offering reflective listening. Our counselor spent time reflecting the mother’s feelings back to her and validated her feelings of frustration and anger over her daughter’s behavior. The counselor also provided plentiful positive regard for the abundant amount of time and effort the mother had put into raising her daughter under difficult circumstances. Together they explored a variety of options, including the possibility of family and counseling support. After discussing alternative solutions the mother decided that she would ground her daughter and if her daughter went out anyway she would resort to sending her child to church instead. The mother also decided to speak with the doctor about hereditary Bipolar Disease to see if it may be a factor in her own child’s behavior. The counselor explained that the mother could call any time, including the evening if she needed more help with the situation. The counselor also shared information regarding Parent Support Groups. After talking, the mother felt much calmer. “A weight has been lifted off my chest.” She said.
Often times when parents call the help line they already know what they want to do but they just need some help figuring this out. Parents Helping Parents seeks to empower parents by enabling them to reach conclusions on their own. By doing this parent feel stronger and more capable and are better equipped to raise their children.