Child abuse is something that no one wants to talk or think about, but unfortunately it does exist. In one year alone over 680,000 children were harmed in some way by an adult, either through abuse or neglect. Most of the time, the adult is a parent or step-parent, but abuse can happen at the hands of other adults as well. April is Child Abuse Awareness month, and it’s a good time to think about ways that you can help. Here are a few tips:
Wear blue during the month of April. Blue is the advocacy color of this particular cause, and some schools are encouraging students and teachers to wear blue ribbons. Ask at your child’s school if this is recommended. Wearing blue or a blue ribbon can help raise awareness; if someone asks what the ribbon is for, you can let them know.
Offer your help to a family that you know might be struggling. If you have a friend who is often frazzled and frustrated with her children, ask if you can lend a hand. If you suspect that a child in your community is being abused, call the appropriate agency. An important way to prevent child abuse is for us to offer our assistance to other parents who may be struggling.
Take a parenting class if you have a hard time managing your frustration with your child. All children go through phases when they push parental buttons, and as parents, we need to learn how to deal with these things. If you find yourself often angry at your child, or you are afraid that you might hurt her, get help. Also, if you have a hard time providing necessities, look into social agencies who can help you. Child Protective Services and child advocacy centers provide abuse-prevention services; you can contact them for more information.
Donate to a good cause. Find a child advocacy center in your area and ask if you can donate time or money. Some agencies are holding fundraisers such as walks or 5K runs. Others are asking people to tie blue ribbons to trees in the area. On April 28, some churches and other worship centers are joining together in prayer and community service for those who are or have been the victims of child abuse. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer if you are interested, so call an agency dedicated to the welfare of children and ask them to put you to work!
By working together, child abuse can be greatly reduced or even eliminated. If your children are old enough, talk to them about the problem in age-appropriate terms, making sure that they know that they can and should report any type of abuse to you immediately. This April, let’s renew our commitment to keeping kids safe from child abuse and neglect.