Visit or drive by Seattle Children’s during the month of April and you might notice something whimsical spinning in the wind: pinwheels, thousands of them, serving as symbols of hope and support in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The pinwheel planting is a yearly tradition at Seattle Children’s, a sentiment which began to inspire the community to support parents and caregivers in a positive way. And as the tradition grew, so did the ways in which the community could show their support – not only through pinwheels, but by making positive parenting pledges as well.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parental feelings of isolation, stress and frustration are major causes of child abuse and mistreatment in the U.S. Abusers are commonly a person the child knows, such as a parent, caregiver, neighbor or family member. Nearly 80% of reported child fatalities that are a result of abuse and neglect are caused by one or more of the victim’s parents.
Make a pledge today
Parenting is a tough and full-time job, which is why Seattle Children’s is asking the community to take a moment to keep the tradition going and make a positive parenting pledge this April. Together, we can help raise awareness for child abuse and strengthen support within the community. A pledge can be something as simple as “I pledge to offer help when kids are upset in public, NOT stare” or “I pledge to focus on positive behaviors.”
Read the below pledges from three different types of caregivers – a mother, father and babysitter – and get inspired to make a pledge of your own.
“I’m pledging to model the behaviors I want my kids to carry through their lives,” said Austin Jenkins, a father of three children. “I want to be positive and thoughtful in my actions. In the end, it’s how I behave that will make the difference and mold their behaviors.”
“The perfect parent is a parent that loves their kid. As parents we need to bust the myth of perfection, and pledge instead to be the best we can be for our children. We need to help each other love our children,” said Jennie Spohr, a Seattle mother. “I pledge to embrace the turbulence that comes with being a parent.”
“My pledge this year is to remember that I can help keep children safe by listening to them,” said Katherine Raffa, 21, who has been a babysitter and nanny in the Seattle area for close to a decade.
Raffa admits that at times her job can be stressful, but it’s important to keep a calm mind and take a couple of deep breaths. She uses techniques she learned similar to those used in the Period of PURPLE Crying method when she feels frustrated.
“As the adult, it is your job to stay calm and in control of your feelings even though you may be getting frustrated,” said Raffa. “Taking a break can be the best thing to reset yourself and help stay positive in the situation.”
Join Seattle Children’s on Facebook and make a pledge today to raise awareness for child abuse prevention, or plant a pinwheel to show support.
Resources for parents and caregivers on managing stressful situations can be found on Seattle Children’s Protection Program Resources site.