April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and we’re giving you resources for ways to prevent child abuse. Here are 10 things you can do as a parent to prevent child abuse.
- Know what child abuse is
- Physical, sexual, neglect, or failure of parents/caregivers to provide necessary clothing, food, and care. Children can also be emotionally abused when they are berated, rejected, or isolated.
- Know the signs
- Depression, fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others, sudden change in eating and sleeping patterns, inappropriate behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy, and hostility are signs of child abuse.
- Discipline thoughtfully
- Never discipline when you’re upset: calm yourself down first. Use privileges to reward good behavior and breaks for your child to regain control of their emotions.
- Examine your behavior
- Abuse is not just physical, both actions and words can hurt. Use your actions to show children that conflicts can be solved without hitting or yelling.
- Educate yourself and others
- Simple support for children and parents can be the best way to prevent abuse. After-school care programs, parent education classes and mentoring programs can keep children from harm.
- Teach children their rights
- When children are taught they are special and have the right to be safe, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault, and more likely to report and offender.
- Invest in Children
- Encourage leaders in the community to be supportive of children and families. Ask local and national lawmakers to support legislation to better protect our children and improve their lives.
- Volunteer your time
- Get involved with other parents in your community. Help vulnerable children and their families.
- Support prevention programs
- Too often, intervention only occurs after abuse has been reported. Greater investment is needed in programs that prevent abuse – family counseling and childcare centers.
- Report Abuse
- If you see a child being abused, make a report to your local CPS office or the police department. Listen carefully to the child and assure the child did the right thing to report it, and it is not their fault.