April marked the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention month and even though I’m happy that awareness is being raised about the horrific acts of child abuse, reading the news today on the first of May doesn’t give me much hope that these crimes won’t be as rampant as they are now. We cover child abuse extensively on Mommyish, and I know so many of you readers care about these cases and wish there was something we could do to make the abuse of kids stop. There are no easy answers. Every year there are 3.6 million reports of child abuse in the United States. Most victims of child abuse and neglect are 18 months old and younger. Over 1,500 children die every year due to abuse or neglect, just in the United States.
Child Welfare.gov has a listing of what they call the Six Protective Factors that when present in families and communities can increase the well-being of children and help prevent abuse. These factors include: nurturing and attachment, knowledge of parenting and child development, parental resilience, social connections, concrete support for parents, and social and emotional competence for children, which is mainly about teaching children empathy and how they can deal with their negative emotions. I think that this is key, and we need to talk to our kids about bullying, about being good friends and showing empathy and support to their peers and about how they can help a friend if they are in trouble. We need additional programs that offer support to parents and ways in which they can be good parents, but we also need programs that teach our kids how they can become good adults.
No one wants to raise a sociopath, or an abuser, or a rapist, or a murderer or an accomplice. There are no easy answers or solutions to any of these problems, but I do think conversations about all these topics help. Personally, when I cover yet another story about abuse or rape I’m not doing it because I enjoy being scandalous (I save that for my endless coverage of z-list celebrities) I’m doing it because when readers respond with their own thoughts and opinions and concerns about these issues it helps me sleep better at night. It was National Child Abuse Prevention month, yet so many of us are still talking about and worrying about and trying to think of ways child abuse can be prevented, whether it be a parent or hurting their child or a teen hurting one of their peers. This doesn’t stop at the end of April.