Child abuse can be found next door; even in military community

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii Aca,!" The face of a child abuser doesn't usually come with the kind of distinguishable characteristics straight out of a horror flick - like a hook for a nose, talons for fingernails or shards of glass for teeth.

More often, the look of evil is imperceptible, lurking well beneath the epidermis of the perpetrator, belonging to the perfectly nice couple with the newborn child or the elderly folks next door who dote on their visiting grandchildren.

"I always say that good people are capable of abusing their children," said Deidra Saina, a prevention specialist with Army Community Services' Family Advocacy Program, here. "Many of us live with stresses, on top of stresses, on top of stresses, and we simply don't know how to deal with these pressures."

For military families stationed in Hawaii, the challenges they face are not only daunting, but of a different beast as well.

Many feel isolated from extended family members on the mainland, burdened by the high cost of living in the islands, and worried about multiple deployments to far-off lands.

And when these pressures reach the boiling point for Soldiers and/or their spouses, the resulting explosion can be absolutely frightening and damaging to their young ones.

"We definitely have some really unique stressors in Hawaii," Saina said.

To assist these families in dealing with these pressures, the Army is offering a number of parenting classes and promotional activities as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Since 1983, April has been the designated month to increase awareness regarding the importance of preventing child abuse and neglect.

Around the world, in fact, some 3 million cases of child abuse are reported each year. With those numbers in mind, the Army is hoping to remind parents of the important role that children play within the armed forces community, while encouraging parents to become better educated on ways to ensure that their families remain safe and Army strong.

"Our classes are built specifically to help our families cope with all types of stresses," said Saina, who just wrapped up a week's worth of activities, including a shaken-baby syndrome quilt display at Tripler Army Medical Center, and a food drive at Fort Shafter.

"Because we're a whenever-and-wherever-you-want-it organization, we typically fill (clients') needs as they come up," said Saina, adding that this year's theme is "Children are our Future: Let's Keep our Future Safe by Protecting the Child."

Saina made note of several courses that will be offered, particularly the "Happy Parent" classes, scheduled for April 20 and 27, here, and April 22, at Aliamanu Military Reservation; and "Boot Camp for New Dads," offered April 26, at the Child Development Center, Helemano Military Reservation.

Saina referred to the Happy Parent classes as a means toward positive psychology, where holistic, stress-reduction practices are implemented for parents and caregivers.

"We focus on taking care of these people, through relaxation techniques and development of time-management skills," she explained.

"And while it's a series," Saina added, "people can pick and choose which classes they want to attend over a four-week period."

Meanwhile, she said, Boot Camp for New Dads will be offered to all first-time fathers with children between the ages of six weeks and eight months.

"We thought this would be a great way to talk to these dads about ways to bond with their babies, answer any questions they may have, and do all of this over lunch," Saina said.

For more information on Child Abuse Prevention Month, call Army Community Services, Schofield Barracks, at 808-655-4227.

Visit the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation website at <a href="http://www.mwrarmyhawaii.com">www.mwrarmyhawaii.com</a> and click on the ACS link.

<b>Upcoming Events</b>
April 16
Aca,!AcShaken Baby Quilt Display, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Army Community Service, Schofield Barracks
Aca,!AcInformation Booth, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Child Development Center, Helemano Military Reservation

April 20
Aca,!AcHappy Parent: Stress Reduction for Parents/Caregivers, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., ACS, Schofield Barracks
Aca,!AcSexting, Cyber Bullying and Internet Safety: What Every Parent Should Know, 6-7:30 p.m., Sgt. Smith Theater, Schofield Barracks

April 21
Aca,!AcLunch and Learn Parenting Series: Parenting Your 1- to 4-Year-Old, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., ACS, Schofield Barracks

April 22
Aca,!AcDisplay and Information Booth, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Post Exchange, Schofield Barracks
Aca,!AcHappy Parent: Stress Reduction for Parents/Caregivers, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., CDC, Aliamanu Military Reservation
Aca,!AcSexting, Cyber Bullying and Internet Safety: What Every Parent Should Know, 6-7:30 p.m., Kyser Auditorium, Tripler Army Medical Center

April 23
Aca,!AcHome Alone Awareness Class, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Schofield Main Chapel
Aca,!AcInfo Booth/Strawberry Shortcake Munch & Learn, 2:30-3:30 p.m., CDC, Schofield Barracks

April 27
Aca,!AcPT in the Park, 4:30-7:30 a.m., Fort Shafter Gymnasium
Aca,!AcHappy Parent: Stress Reduction for Parents/Caregivers, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., ACS, Schofield Barracks

April 28
Aca,!AcLunch and Learn Parenting Series: Parenting Your 1- to 4-Year-Old, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., ACS, Schofield Barracks

April 29
Aca,!AcHappy Parent: Stress Reduction for Parents/Caregivers, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., CDC, AMR

April 30
Aca,!AcDisplay/Info Booth, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Main PX, Schofield Barracks

Page last updated Thu April 29th, 2010 at 17:32