ending child abuse in the u.s.: an interview with suzin bartley
he knows that i’m his protector
He Knows that I’m his Protector
[Man and woman yelling]
I am out of here! [door slams]
[Text on screen] What if you grew up in a home where you were afraid of your own parents?
Norland Martinez, Children’s Trust Program Participant
You start remembering the faces. I remember looking at my dad's face and seeing him like, "wow this woman has me at knifepoint with three kids against the wall."
She's saying, “if you ever come back here I will kill you. I will kill you." Both of my sisters are crying and I was just watching.
I remember my mom looked at my sister and she says if you cry for him you're gonna go with him as well. Now that I think about it I'm like "Why?" you know, like, “why would you do that in front of your kids?”
I felt safe from intruders coming into my home. The only person I was really worried about was my mother. No one gave me bigger beatings than my mom. You know but you get taken out of the house and get put in with a foster mom who from there raises you, understands you, and tries to work with you. That's a big difference between two moms.
Stephanie Pye, Family Support Professional
What I think could happen with someone who doesn't have supports, or who's been in a home and been abused, or gone to different foster care systems, they may not know how to be a parent without support.
[Text on Screen] High School
She used to sit right behind me. I was like class clown, and of course you know, you're new to the school, you're freshmen. I turned around, I see her there, I said "wow, she's kind of pretty, I've gotta impress her." And then we started dating.
When Norland first started dating Angela, he was living with his dad, who was struggling with alcoholism. Norland was selling marijuana to make ends meet. He was only 14.
During a surprise visit from his mother, she told him to pack his bags as they were moving out of state with her new boyfriend. This was the last straw in their relationship. Determined to get back to Angela and their unborn child, Norland secretly bought a train ticket home.
I get back to Everett, where my girlfriend lived, and I rent out a motel room, and I start living in the motel room.
She's pregnant, I'm selling drugs, and the cops are looking for me and I realized I need to really do something because there's no way that I'm going to be able to parent that child. I just didn't have the resources that I didn't have.
Jack Miller, Deputy Director of Programs, The Children’s Trust
I think it's really difficult for young parents, right, to come through an experience where in their own family history, they've lived through some very difficult things.
The Children's Trust has a variety of programs that partner with moms and dads to help them build the skills and confidence they need to create safe and healthy homes for kids.
When his son Jayden was on the way, Norland connected with a Children's Trust program that paired him with a trained professional to work together, one-on-one, every week, until Jayden was three.
He wanted to learn milestones, potty training him. He wanted to learn about discipline, because at this time the child was a little bit older, so tantrums were happening. So what does he do with all that?
So one of things I learned from Healthy Families was stress control. That has helped me not be like you know, when it was when I was a child, where my mom would completely lose her temper. I may get angry, but I am always able to bring myself back and give a consequence that is proper.
What if I treated him the way my mom treated me? He would be completely scarred!
I see some similarities in the wish and the dreams that Norland had for his family and for himself and other Healthy Families participants, right? It's about having a vision for the future, for their families, and for themselves.
One of my main priorities with Jayden, I want him to know that, you know, I'm there for him. Sometimes I'll put him to bed and I walk out and I remember "Oh, I didn't give him a hug, I should probably go give him a hug."
That's a really big difference from the way I was raised. Because when I was growing up, a lot of it was me trying to protect myself from my parents. And for Jayden, he knows that I'm his protector.
[Text on screen] @trust4kids
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[Logo on screen] The Children’s Trust, childrenstrustma.org