Most child homicides occur between family members, friends, and neighbors. They are often a result of uncontrolled and restrained emotions. Parents and caregivers need to be mindful to never discipline children when they are upset. Allow a few minutes to calm down before giving discipline.
Educate and Support: Parents/caregivers should be mindful of a child’s capabilities and susceptibility. Frustrated caregivers often combine unrealistic expectations for children’s behavior with a lack of appreciation for their vulnerability. Parent education classes, mentoring programs, and support programs such as family counseling and home visits by nurses who provide assistance for newborns and their parents are some of the many ways caregivers can learn about child development, parenting, and how to avoid becoming overwhelmed in caring for children.
Know the Signs: It is important to know the signs of child abuse. Children get bruises and bumps, especially over bony areas such as the knees, elbows, and shins. However, a child with injuries on other parts of the body, such as the stomach, cheeks, ears, buttocks, mouth, or thighs raises concern for abuse. Black eyes, human bite marks, and burns seldom come from everyday play.
Signs that may indicate abuse is occurring in a home include parents/caregivers who:
- lack social contacts outside the family;
- have a drinking or drug abuse problem;
- engage in domestic violence;
- are excessively controlling or resentful of a child;
- tend to belittle a child by directly criticizing him/her or using subtle put-downs disguised as humor;
- appear anxious or avoid talking about their child’s injuries.
Signs that may indicate a child is being abused include a child:
- who exhibits a lack of trust;
- is fearful or anxious about going home;
- has uncontrolled emotions or lashes out in anger ;
- feels worthless, depressed, shameful, or withdraws from others;
- has injuries that are inadequately explained;
- exhibits excessive sadness or cries a lot;
- has an abnormal amount of trouble sleeping.
Teach Children Their Rights: When children are taught they have the right to be safe, they are less likely to blame themselves for the abuse and more likely to report an offender.
Report Abuse: If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please telephone the Kansas Protection Report Center (toll-free) at 1-800-922-5330 or call 911 if the child is in imminent danger.
For more information:
Kansas Chapter of Children's Advocacy Centers