April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
We join with individuals, families and the
community in working to reduce child abuse and/or neglect. One of the greatest gifts we can give our
children is for the child to know they are loved, valued and special. Through our interactions and words, we
communicate to children how we feel about them. If we communicate positive, loving and
affirming messages, children grow up to be self-confident and capable, knowing
they have people who love them and believe in them. Children who hear messages that are negative,
harsh, mean spiriting and unkind, often grow up feeling they are unlovable and
unworthy and may make poor choices in life. Using positive reinforcement will help us
raise children who are self-disciplined. There are simple ways that parents can
give children the best starts.
Be a nurturing parent. Children need to know that they are special,
loved and capable of following their dreams.
- Help yourself.
When the big and little problems of everyday life pile up to the point
you feel overwhelmed, take a time out for yourself.
- If your baby cries…and you have a hard time
comforting your baby, seek support or help. Talk with your health care provider or community agencies about what to
do to help your baby. Never shake a baby
– shaking a baby or a child may result in severe injury or death.
- Get involved. Ask your community, leaders, clergy, library, and schools to develop
services to the meet the needs of healthy children and families.
- Monitor your child’s television, video and
internet usage. Watching violent programs and video, playing graphic games can
- Remember the purpose of discipline. It is to teach your child socially acceptable
ways of expressing natural desires. Discipline guides your child into
- The best discipline is geared to the child’s
developmental age and stage. Don’t
expect a child of any age to perform something he or she is not ready for. If you are sure about normal milestones and
age appropriate behavior, seek support from your healthcare provider, school or
other community agency.
- Children need positive reinforcement. Reward
your child for doing right with smiles, hugs, attention, praise and
thanks. Reward do not need to be candy
- Never hit or shake a child. Hitting is not a useful tool for
children. Hitting a child actually
teaches a child that it is okay to hit people or it can make them too angry to
be regretful for what they did wrong. Hitting and shaking a child can hurt a child physically, causing not
only emotional hurt and fear but physical pain.
- Discipline is taught best by example. The
lessons you teach your child come from what your child sees you do – not what
- If what you are doing is not working, change
it. Your best efforts, even those that
worked in the past, may break down. Sometimes parents need to be creative in their approach to helping a
child learn to manage their behaviors.
If you as a parent feel
overwhelmed, try these alternatives to lashing out at your child.
- Take a deep breath and maybe another. Then remember you are the adult.
- Close your eye and imagine you are hearing what
child is about to hear. Think about how that might make you feel.
- Press your lips together and count to 10…or
better yet, to 20.
- Put your child in time out, one minute for each
year of age.
- Put yourself in time out. Think about why you
are angry and how you might handle it in a way that feels positive, not
harmful, to both you and your child.
- Phone a friend, go for a walk, take a hot bath,
hug a pillow or listen to music.
- Call for prevention information: 1-800-CHILDREN.
If you or someone you know has
reason to believe a child has been harmed or may be harmed, call your local
police department or you can call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331. It is all of our obligations to protect
Information from Prevent
Child Abuse America, website address: http://www.preventchildabuse.org/news-and-publications.