Parent education services available for families

Parent education services available for families

Step away -- That's the message Anglea Lee, director of social work for Onslow County Health Department, has for parents who may become frustrated with their children.

"We want to see them put the baby in a safe place, step away, contact a friend or family member for time away from the child," Lee said. "They may just need to take a break from the child."

Lee reflected on the deaths of two baby boys that happened in less than a month in Onslow County.

Jacksonville Police are investigating an 11-month old's homicide Tuesday, after officers found a foreign object lodged in his throat. Medical examiners say a two-month old boy died Feb. 13 from severe head trauma. Deputies say it happened because his father was frustrated with his baby's crying.

Both fathers in these cases were Camp Lejeune Marines. Lee attributes local child abuse cases in part to the area's young population.

"Young parents sometimes don't have the support that they need, or have the education they need with regards to parenting."

Lee says there are services available in onslow county for parents who may feel frustrated or just need some guidance. The PEERS Family Development Center is one of those options.

Debra Harris, a parent educator at PEERS, says military families can have parenting struggles of their own.

"Their husbands are deployed, and they're here with no support system, and it's really hard for them," Harris said.

Harris says she's worked with military members who have PTSD or are adjusting to life after deployment. She says parenting classes can make all the difference.

"They need to be around other people so they don't feel like they're so alone, and that they're going through this all by themselves, and that they're the only ones experiencing it," Harris said. "Because in our community, there's a lot of people in the same boat. And it's important that they know that."

For more information on PEERS Family Development Center, visit

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