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How do I Prevent Child Abuse?

The question of how to prevent child abuse is one that is asked by many. Parenting experts and statisticians ask it on a global scale, looking at the rates of child abuse existing and creating theories on what factors seem to contribute to it. Parents ask this question too: How can they parent successfully without hurting their children? These questions are good ones to which there is not one definitive answer.

It is very clear that child abuse statistics are daunting. About four children in the US alone will die each day from abuse. Others may inherit a lifetime of problems like higher risk of teen pregnancy, far greater chance of having a mental disorder, higher risk of substance abuse, much greater likelihood of becoming abusers and higher incarceration statistics. It should also be understood that abuse knows no class or socioeconomic bounds.

Many organizations that focus on how to prevent child abuse do so by suggesting ways or evolving programs to help parents learn not to abuse. Some of the more effective programs, which may help prevent child abuse, include those where parents get lots of education especially right before and after a child is born. There are many free or low costs parenting organizations that operate in a number of communities. They can offer classes that focus on how to be a good parent, and do so at times when statistically parents may be most open to learning new things.

Classes or educational opportunities might include anger management and discipline classes and informational classes about the developmental stages of childhood. When needed, there are additional programs including some child/parent respite programs that allow parents to get a break and place a child somewhere safe. Alternately, state agencies like Child Protective Services may work intensively with parents in danger of losing rights to their children to help them learn what they need so they will never abuse or mistreat their children. Seizing a child from a home after he or she has been abused is the least desirable outcome, since it did nothing to prevent the abuse. Early parenting education, on the other hand, may prevent such a seizure, particularly when parents gain access to support.

The programs that work to prevent child abuse often presume that virtually no parent wants to abuse their kids. However, abuse can quickly crop up when parents don’t know enough about how to be good parents. Parents who participate in these programs are trying to learn things that will help them be the best parents, and this is perhaps one of the best ways for any parent can prevent becoming an abuser. There are also lots of helpful online tips for parents, but in a class setting, families can get more support.

However, it’s useful to point out just a few tips for those parents who would like to prevent child abuse in the home. These include the following:

  • Avoid disciplining children when angry.
  • Never shake an infant.
  • Get counseling or therapy when suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, or an abusive childhood.
  • Do not continue to live in a home with a spouse or partner that is an abuser.
  • Ask for help from a therapist, doctor or a child abuse program if anger is building and abuse seems likely.

For those people who would simply like to prevent child abuse from more distant means, they can find many reputable charities online that focus solely on this issue. A more direct means of prevention could include being supportive to those friends or family members who parent. Offering babysitting services, especially so parents can take educational classes or get a small break from parenting may be very helpful. People are less likely to abuse when surrounded by greater support.

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