Strong communities strengthen families. Everyone in the Marine Corps community plays a role in fostering strong families and keeping kids safe. Parents play the biggest role; parenting is key to protecting families. Parenting is difficult, but there are steps that you can take to protect your family and successfully parent.
- Take care of yourself. When you get on a plane, the flight attendants tell you that you have to put on your oxygen mask first so that you remain conscious, and then you can help others to put on theirs. It may seem illogical to leave your kids hanging, but if you pass out, you would not be able to help them. It is the same way with parenting in general. You have to take good care of yourself so that you can take good care of your children.
- Attend parent education classes or events. Knowledge is power. Figuring out parenting can be stressful, but there are several resources available to help answer those tough questions. Your local installation’s Family Advocacy hosts several classes and events that can help.
- Stay connected. Being isolated is tough and can make anyone feel lonely and frustrated. Participate in community events where you are. Consider joining a playgroup with other parents (it is a great chance to vent, too!). Think about other groups that you might join or classes that you might take, like an exercise class. Find ways to stay in contact with friends and family even if you are not physically living close to them.
- Be flexible (Semper Gumby!). Plan as much as you can, and remember you will also have to adapt at times. Use your resources well when you have to be flexible, and work to build a network locally who can help you to adapt.
Your local installation’s Family Advocacy Program wants to help with parenting stress and has additional resources. More information and resources for preventing child abuse can be found here: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/