5 Ways to End Child Abuse and Neglect
1. TALK ABOUT IT
Talking about child abuse and neglect is not something many people do. When a topic comes up that people are not comfortable with, or simply don’t know what to say and do about it, they remain silent.
If we could cure cancer just by talking about it, we would. Well, we can cure child abuse by talking about it. When we talk, we create a sense of belonging and community, we increase our compassion, and we promote the benefits of change. Talking about child abuse is exactly what is needed to begin the movement to end child abuse and neglect.
2. SUPPORT OTHERS
It can be difficult for so many of us to know how to be supportive when abuse and neglect are present. For those who’ve been parents, there is often a level of understanding and empathy for other parents, however this is often partnered with fear. Fear that we can relate too closely to the sensation of not being our best selves toward our children, fear of moments where we are not the parent we often strive to be. Challenge yourself to be available to assist any mothers and fathers in your community if they feel stressed and need help. EndCAN knows that it is possible for anyone to get angry, loose their inhibitions and be abusive, the difference between action and thought is a life changing one. When you see someone who feels stressed, reach out, let them know you understand and offer to support them. When we support one another, we create a sense of empathy, non-judgment and community.
3. LEARN ABOUT IT
In the face of the unknown, we often create our own sense of meaning and understanding. We tend to “fill in the blanks” through a sense of fear. The more we understand, the better off we are to see issues from various points of view, create outcomes around it, and provide support and empathy for others. Many people have a false understanding about child abuse and neglect. EndCAN encourages people to educate themselves, learn more about the outcomes, the effects, the mass amounts of survivors who are thriving in the world, how to recognize it and help prevent it. Child abuse and neglect is not just a legal and social issue, but also a health, mental health and public health one. There is so much to be done when we understand things and can change them from a place of knowing.
4. BUILD COMMUNITY
Some of the most profound child abuse prevention programs are those that create a sense of community. Nurse Family Partnership, Home Visiting, SEEK, Strong Communities, are examples of the community building prevention programs that currently exist. These programs show that when people feel supported, they feel as though they belong. And as people, when we feel like we belong, we are calmer, softer, more authentic, and patient – especially with our children. It’s when we are alone, isolated, scared, tired and feel unsupported that we tend to lash out. As parents, the easiest place to do that is toward those who we know won’t reject us – our children.
While this isn’t something we ought to be proud to admit, the truth is that stress and negative feelings sometimes overcome us. Let’s work together to scale these prevention programs, create support systems within our communities, reach out to the parent in the grocery store whose child is screaming, not from a place of wanting to fix, or tell them what to do, but instead one of empathy, understanding and communal connection. We have to hold one another if we want to be the change we wish to see in the world.
These programs need your support. Consider donating to and supporting EndCAN to foster research, increase prevention, and give every child the chance to live an abuse free life.
5. MODEL EFFECTIVE CHANGE
I often get asked by people how do you continue to be kind and loving when you are consistently hearing and experiencing painful interactions, whether it be from my own family or in my work. My response is simple. I know I can’t please everyone, and all I try to do is model for others how I wish to be treated and how I want those around me to treat others. I don’t have all of the answers, and I certainly don’t get it all right, but what I can do is take responsibility for my role as best and often as I can. I hold others around me accountable for their roles from a loving and kind place, and I lean on those who won’t make me feel worse for being who I am. I know from my years on this earth that a common theme is: Hurt people hurt others. THIS IS NOT how I want to live in the world. When I am hurting, I do everything in my power to not project my pain onto others. I take space, time, and self-care to right size my feelings. I ask for help, talk through my struggles with supportive people who can lovingly put me in my place, and then I get back out there to model the change I want to be.
Join me in being a model for good. Together we can create more harmony within ourselves, our communities, and the world.
Together, we can END child abuse and neglect
-Lori Poland, Executive Director EndCAN
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