Training covers parenting tips, abuse prevention

Emily Jennings/USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs
Sarah Gordon, victim advocate coordinator with Army Community Service, talks to Soldiers during a recent troop training in the Tony Bass Auditorium.

Many people can think of a situation where they wanted to intervene and help, but didn’t want to get involved or be nosy. When it comes to child abuse and domestic violence, garrison leaders urge community members to call police if they see or hear something concerning.

Army Community Service conducts annual troop training, which consists of identification and reporting of child abuse and domestic violence, as well as learning skills for healthy and effective communication and parenting.
Annual attendance is mandatory for Soldiers and highly encouraged for anyone else. Information in the training is just as applicable to civilians as it is to the Soldier, said Sarah Gordon, victim advocate coordinator with ACS. “It ends up being a really interesting, interactive class, especially when folks come prepared to discuss, opine and object,” Gordon said.

Topics covered include how to identify and report abuse as well as parenting tools that may help parents avoid hitting or spanking their children. The training is required as outlined in AR 608-18.

Child abuse
Physical punishment, such as spanking, and excessive verbal punishment are illegal in Germany. According to Section 1631 of the Civil Code (translated), “Children have a right to non-violent upbringing. Physical punishments, psychological injuries and other degrading measures are inadmissible.”

Parents are encouraged to check in with themselves and realize if they’re too angry to talk in the moment. “Wait until you calm down and wait until you can behave rationally,” Gordon said. “We encourage open communication and understanding. Kids are people. They are autonomous beings. Parents’ role is to open the lines of communication so that they can come talk to you when they need to.”

Gordon emphasizes the importance of adding tools to the parenting toolkit. “If what we’re going for is behavior modification on the part of the child, then we need to learn what achieves that, not just on the spot,” Gordon said. “Spanking teaches kids not to get caught; it doesn’t teach them right from wrong. It doesn’t talk them through why they did what they did in the first place.”
Often it’s a matter of “this is how I was raised, and I had no idea this is not something that’s recommended for kids,” she said.

Report child abuse
Call the Military Police at 114 on post or (0611)143-548-7777.

How to help

  • Be alert to what goes on around you.
  • Use language children understand.
  • Offer children support and opportunity to talk.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Remain neutral, calm and do not put words in the child’s mouth.
  • Be aware of nonverbal cues.
  • Speak softly.
  • Do not promise to keep a secret.
  • Make no promises you cannot keep.

Domestic violence
Domestic violence comes in many forms—physical, emotional or psychological, sexual and financial. Victims can be men or women.
Victim Advocacy Services offers 24/7 crisis intervention, legal and medical accompaniment, safe house placement, emotional support, command liaison and respite care.
Community members are urged to report domestic violence. The USAG Wiesbaden Family Advocacy Program domestic violence hotline is 0162-297-5625.

How does domestic violence affect kids?

  • 1 in 15 children are exposed to domestic violence each year; 90 percent of them are eyewitnesses.
  • Children from violent homes have higher risks of alcohol and drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and juvenile delinquency.
  • Witnessing domestic violence is the single best predictor of juvenile delinquency and adult criminality.

Troop training classes:
All trainings are held at the Tony Bass Auditorium.
Contact ACS for class dates or to schedule a class. The training is an annual requirement for military members.

Community Resources:

  • Chaplains (548-5174)
  • Behavioral Health (590-1320)
  • Military Family Life Counselors (0152-265-9768/0175-617-5799)
  • Family Advocacy Program-Clinical (063-719-464-1312)
  • Doctors at the Military Treatment Facility (590-1300)
  • ACS Family Advocacy Program: (548-9201/9202)