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Child Abuse Prevention Month

Updated on April 1, 2014

The Hard Truth About Child Abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and with so many stories of neglect and abuse in the media, one could believe he or she is neither guilty nor capable of being abusive. Unfortunately, abuse ranges from tactics such as public humiliation to discourage certain behaviors to the more obvious extremes of rape and physical beating.

It is important to define child abuse in order to understand the boundaries a parent should operate within. Psychology Today categorizes child abuse as physical, emotional, verbal or sexual. Abuse is typically the result of some form of neglect.

The sad fact is many of us do not even see abusive behaviors we may perform repeatedly if they are not what is considered extreme. That is to say, if the kids are well fed and do not have physical bruises, we may overlook some terrible habits.


The Many Faces of Abuse

Let's face it: as much as we love our children, they can be a crash course in patience at times. Many people who are abusive are not the monsters they are painted to be after being arrested. They are typically ordinary people who were overwhelmed by life's circumstances, too prideful to ask for help, or to private to admit lack, just to name a few reasons. The perfect storm of disaster had been brewing for a while before the symptoms surfaced. It was just a matter of time.

Unfortunately, when many parents feel out of control of their own lives, they transfer their frustration to a situation they feel in complete control of. On the other end of the spectrum, when one parent suspects the other parent is abusive to their child sexually, many other factors come into play, especially with mothers. The fear of what will happen to the family name or how she and her child or children would survive with the father's income often causes women to stay despite the circumstances. The mother becomes a negligent silent partner in the abuse, often earning the resentment of a child who was simply in need of defense.

An Honest Retrospective

Looking back at your own childhood, do you feel certain tactics were a form of abuse?

See results

Why Abuse Happens

There are many reasons why abuse occurs, but one of the main reasons is tradition. Many people carry the attitude toward parenting that was demonstrated toward them, and often people feel disloyal to their family unit if they choose to leave the well-beaten path.

It is sometimes painful to think the people you love most in this world may have made a mistake that you carry into your parenting methods, so the tradition continues, no matter how harmful it may be.

The More Extreme It Is, The More It Is Acknowledged

A 3-year-old Chinese girl was beaten and thrown from a taxi by her father, Gan X (May 2013)
A 3-year-old Chinese girl was beaten and thrown from a taxi by her father, Gan X (May 2013) | Source

Types of Abuse

  • Physical (Hitting, slapping, choking, pinching)
  • Emotional (isolation, humiliation, nepotism, verbal assault)
  • Verbal (name calling, profanity, discouragement)
  • Sexual (rape, molestation, pornography)

Mother of 5 Arrested for Neglect

Isolation Is Abuse

Although the "average Joe" doesn't rape or beat his child, there are other forms of abuse which are just as damaging.  Let us be mindful of our words and actions toward our children.
Although the "average Joe" doesn't rape or beat his child, there are other forms of abuse which are just as damaging. Let us be mindful of our words and actions toward our children. | Source

Room for Improvement

In the spirit of abuse prevention, awareness is key. There is no easy way to admit to yourself when you need to improve on interaction with your children, but once the issue is identified, healing and reformation can begin. If you have been a victim of abuse as a child, seek help so your experience does not taint your current and future relationships with your children as well as your mate. Many victims become abusive as a defense. This overcorrection of the wrong that was inflicted upon them can have negative ramifications in their adult lives.

Most of us who do not see ourselves as capable of the more drastic forms of abuse have received and on occasion been guilty of doling out emotional and verbal abuse. Children are discerning and remember everything. No one is perfect, but if you apologize and rectify your actions quickly, healing should not be such a tough road to travel together.


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