It’s hard to imagine being hurt by someone you love, yet children are abused by people they trust. Not all parents mean to cause harm to their children. Most parents properly misunderstand the popular quote “spare the rod and spoil the child” because they have grown up with hitting and may not know how best to teach children. Some parents hit their children when they are angry with the child’s behaviour and cross the line into child abuse and calls it DISCIPLINE.

Hitting is not the best way to teach children. They learn to fear you and may not learn the behaviour you want. However physical abuse is not the only abuse, it’s only shocking due to the mark it leaves. Ignoring children’s needs, putting them in unsupervised, dangerous situations, exposing them to sexual situations, or making them feel worthless or stupid are also forms of child abuse and neglect. Regardless of the type of abuse, the result is serious emotional harm. Try to show children what you want, and then praise them when they do it. It takes time for children to learn. It can be hard to be patient and calm when you need to repeat the same thing many times. When children are abused, their trust in others is broken. This affects how they form relationships in the future. It can make them feel worthless, and they are more likely to develop low self-esteem and mental health problems.

Spanking can be an appropriate form of child discipline but there is a giant difference between a mild spanking properly administered out of love to seek to turn their children away from negative behaviour and an out-of-control adult venting their emotions by physically abusing a child. It is vital, however, that spanking be administered within proper guidelines. If as a parent you get angry easily and can’t manage your feelings, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your doctor is a good place to start. Because it is your duty to show your child you love them in the things you do and say every day, it helps them feel secure. Learn about your child development at different ages, you may be less upset if you know your child isn’t able to do something you want them to do. However, it’s advisable for parents to apply corporal discipline onlyS in cases of intentional disobedience. And it should never be administered harshly or with the aim to cause physical harm.

Child abuse and neglect can be prevented or stopped. Everyone can help make sure children are safe. We all have a duty of care and are also responsible for everyone. People in the community can also report their concerns. It is important to do this even if you think it is not your business or you don’t want to get involved. You could stop a child being harmed and help a family get support.

We should always bear in mind that none of our kids come with an instruction manual attached.


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