While April is known for showers and spring flowers, it’s also National Child Abuse Prevention Month. President Barack Obama issued a Presidential proclamation in 2016 saying, “During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we recommit to giving every child a chance to succeed and to ensuring that every child grows up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is free from abuse and neglect.” 2019’s theme is “Strong and Thriving Families.” You may have noticed blue pinwheels while you’re out and about: these are a symbol for child abuse prevention.
I know that this is a difficult topic, but it is a really important one and something we should be talking about. It is important for us to be advocates for children and families and to help them find the resources they need. Protecting children is everyone’s job. The World Health Organization defines child abuse as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to a child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.”
A really great resource is https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/. There’s a 2019 Resource Prevention Guide and Tip Sheets that deal with subjects like temper tantrums, keeping your family strong, stress and finances, building resilience in your kids and much more!
The following are six protective factors for families:
- Nurturing and attachment
- Knowledge of parenting and child development
- Parental resilience
- Social connections
- Concrete support for families
- Social and emotional competence of children
It would be wonderful if we could all commit to preventing child abuse and neglect and remember that every child matters. Let’s stand up, not only for our children, but for all children in our community with whom we come in contact on a daily basis. We can make a difference by learning more about this difficult topic and loving, noticing, and supporting those around us.