Saturday, April 28, 2007

Prevent Child Abuse... Beginning In your Own Home!

Although there are many people in this world, who, unfortunately, abuse children out of their own sadisticness, I believe there are many more people who abuse children because they are under a lot of stress, get very upset, and just lose control for a moment. I've known a lot of extremely good , loving parents who have said to me, "Today was such a crazy day, I really feel like I now understand why abuse happens." Under certain conditions, how easy is it for a parent to just snap, and hurt their child?
Well, in this entry I've found some resources for parents to help themselves.

From Love Our Children USA, some alternatives to child abuse! (Some may seem corny or stupid to you, but other ideas may work... just take what you like, and leave the rest!)

The next time life's everyday pressures build up to the point where you feel like lashing out or worse ... STOP!

Try any of these simple alternatives. You'll feel better... and so will your child.
Take a deep breath... and another, and another, and another. Then remember you are the adult.

Close your eyes and imagine you're hearing what your child is about to hear.

Press your lips together and count to 10... counting to 20 is even better.

Put your child in a time-out chair (a good rule to remember is : one time-out minute for each year of age.)

Put yourself in a time-out chair. Think about why you are angry it your child, or is your child simply a convenient target for your anger?

Phone a friend.

If someone can watch the children, go outside and take a walk.

Take a hot bath or splash cold water on your face.

Hug a pillow. If it gets really bad - punch the pillow.

Turn on some music. Maybe even sing along.

Pick up a pencil and write down as many helpful words as you can think of. Save the list. Even better is keeping a journal. Make sure to date each page you use.

Call for prevention information. (1-800-4-A-CHILD)

Even when children push all of your buttons ... remember ... they're just children!
You are the adult!

For more helpful articles and tips, go to Love Our Children USA.

And, from the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Montgomery County, here is a list of twelve alternative ways of disciplining your children. (Again, take what you like, and leave the rest!)

1. Have your child sit on a chair
for the same number of minutes as his or her age. Put the chair
in a safe place, boring place.

2. Hold a screaming child firmly but
gently on your lap until he or she calms down.

3. If your child breaks a toy by playing roughly, do
not replace it. The child will learn for the next time.

4. Take away watching TV, or playing
outside, or talking on the phone.

5. Move a young child away from
unsafe things. Give him or her a safe toy.

6. Give choices you can live with.
"You can set the table , and play outside later, or,
NOT set the table, and NOT play outside later."

7. Children sometimes act up just to
get attention. Don't
give in to them. Ignore that kind of behavior
unless your child might get hurt.

8. Tell your child that you are
disappointed or angry with his behavior, not with him as a

9. Practice what you preach.
Children will follow your example.

10. Expect to see good behavior, and
you are more likely to get it.

11. Work together to write down family rules.
Put them where everybody can see them.

12. Say good things too. Children
need to know what they are doing right, not just what
they are doing wrong.

If you feel like you're at your wits end with these kids and you have no where to turn, there are anonymous hotlines you can call! Sometimes, just having someone to talk to can help you to feel better... less alone... and to put things back into perspective. Many hotlines can also refer you to local help and resources to get you through rough times! If you call these hotlines, know that you are NOT reporting yourself as an abusive parent, or anything like that. You don't even have to give your name, and they don't trace the calls.


Childhelp USA Hotline

Covenant House Nineline

There is also a national support group, called Parents Anonymous. It was originally started as a support group for parents who had found themselves abusing, or in danger of abusing, their children, and wanted to stop. Now, they are a strong support system for parents in general! Here is what they have to say about who ocmes to their groups: "Parents Anonymous® Groups welcome any parent or individual in a parenting role seeking support and positive parenting strategies regardless of the age, or special challenges of their children. Parents may be married, divorced, single, grandparents, stepparents, foster parents, teen parents, or even aunts and uncles. Parents at risk or involved with Child Protective Services, domestic violence, homeless shelters, correctional and/or substance abuse programs also attend." Click here to find a group in your state!

Over the last few weeks we've heard a lot about child abuse. It is great to know that there are resources out there for parents to prevent child abuse in their own homes, even before it starts!

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