April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a crucial time to raise awareness about preventing child abuse and neglect. Preventing child abuse requires a community effort. We as a community can help give families the tools they need to thrive.
Several studies have found that without intervention, parental stress can increase the likelihood of child abuse. But our community can help build resiliency. This will allow parents to have greater empathy and rebound from negative experiences.
There are several ways that we can support parents to help increase this resiliency. Simply expressing that parents are valued can come in a variety of forms. Consider what you can do to help families build their strengths:
Honor each family’s race, language, culture, history, and approach to parenting.
Encourage parents to manage stress. Help provide connections to mental health services and parenting classes that focus on stress management techniques. Create supportive environments for parents to connect with each other.
Help parents build decision-making and leadership skills by creating opportunities, such as serving on school committees or participating in community organizations.
- Help parents understand how to buffer their child during stressful times. Provide education on positive parenting techniques and create supportive environments for parents to practice.
By honoring their stress and circumstances, encouraging effective stress management, supporting decision-making and leadership skills, providing education on positive parenting techniques, and most importantly, we can show up and listen. Let us all work together to ensure that every child grows up in a safe and nurturing environment.