For the kids sake it is important that we stop child maltreatment before it occurs. Child maltreatment is linked to higher rates of drug abuse, chronic diseases, depression, alcoholism, smoking, and suicide. In addition, abuse and neglect of children is also recognized as a serious health problem which results in far-reaching short and long-term health consequences.
Child maltreatment is defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or caregiver that results in harm, probability for harm, or threat of injury to a child. Acts of omission include physical, psychological and sexual abuse as well as emotional, physical, educational, medical or dental neglect.
Child maltreatment is a complex global problem. Each year an estimated 31,000 homicide deaths of children occur for those under the age of 15 years. Additionally, close to 20 percent of women and 5 to 10 percent of men report they have been sexually abused as a child. Effective prevention programs for the kids suffering from abuse and neglect are necessary to support parents and caregivers by teaching them positive parenting skills. Providing ongoing care of families and children can lessen the consequences and diminish the risks of maltreatment from reoccurring.
Providing a safe, stable and nurturing relationship for the kids between parents and caregivers is a prerequisite in offering positive care; each represents a critical phase of physical and social environments that protect and encourage the most favorable development in a child.
Providing safety ensures a child from being exposed to physical or psychological trauma within his or her physical and social environment. A child’s interaction with their environment helps in how they determine how the world works for them; what to expect and how they should interact.
Stability offers the child a predictable and manageable world. Stability provides a sense of cohesiveness. Nurturing by the parent or caregiver includes food, shelter, medical care and personal hygiene. Nurturing is the extent to which the needs of a child are met in a sensitive and prompt manner.
Help For the Kids and You
Stopping child maltreatment before it starts is the ultimate goal. Teaching parents positive parenting skills such as good communication, appropriate discipline and responding to a child’s physical and emotional needs is necessary to accomplish this goal.
Programs to enhance parenting skills are available in schools, communities, the Internet, medical and mental health clinics. For the kids and the fate of their future we can share this information with others to promote better health and lives.