When stress builds, kids get hurt. Most child abuse is committed by parents or caregivers who are unable to cope with parenting and take their frustrations out on the child. Parents may lack the information and support needed to handle stress.
How Can You Help?
First, do you think you may need help? If so, you are not alone. No parent has it easy; some have it especially hard. According to the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, if you answer "yes" to several of the questions below, you could probably use some support yourself:
Do you feel troubled?
Are you often nervous or depressed?
Do you have no one to turn to?
Do your problems overwhelm you?
Are you afraid you might hurt your kids?
Were you treated badly as a child and are afraid of repeating your parents' mistakes?
Do you have sexual feelings toward your child and are afraid you might act upon them?
Help a Parent in Need
Do you know a parent who is having a difficult time?
Give him or her a break. Offer to take care of the kids for a while to relieve your friend of the constant strain of child care. Be a good listener. Make yourself available to listen without being judgmental. Try opening a dialogue with, "Kids can wear you out, can't they? Is there anything I can do to help?". Encourage your friend to join a parenting program. He or she will get support and learn new parenting skills.
Report Suspected Abuse or Neglect
If you suspect a child is being hurt, your best option is to call a child abuse hotline or the police. In Montgomery County, Ohio. Call Children Services at 937-224-KIDS. When a report is filed, experts investigate to decide if abuse is occurring. If neglect or abuse is proven, services such as counseling and parental support, are offered. You have immunity from civil or criminal liability if you are reporting abuse in the honest belief that a child is in danger of being abused.