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Child Abuse and Neglect (cont.)

Prevention

You can help prevent child abuse and neglect by using techniques to help you manage the responsibilities and stress related to parenting and daily life. Regardless of whether you are a parent, you can help children by showing concern for their well-being, volunteering when you are able, and being a general advocate for them.

If you are a parent or caregiver of children:

  • Learn and use effective parenting and discipline techniques and avoid the use of corporal punishment. Parenting classes are offered in most communities. Ask your doctor or call a local hospital for more information.
  • Learn healthy techniques to resolve conflicts and manage stress. For more information, see the topic Stress Management.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Call a family member or friend to give you a break if you feel overwhelmed. Find out about community resources that are available to help you with child care or other services you need. Call a doctor or local hospital for a place to start. Some communities have respite care facilities for children, which provide temporary child care during times when you need a break.
  • Get treatment if you have ever been a victim of abuse. Also seek help if you have problems with depression, alcohol or substance abuse, or violent behavior.
  • Increase your knowledge of children's developmental stages. The normal pattern of crying in a newborn is a common trigger for shaken baby syndrome (also called intentional head injury). For more information, see the Growth and Development topics.
  • Remove firearms and other dangerous weapons from your home.

To help children in your community:

  • Be aware of the children in your neighborhood. Learn their names and show basic concern for them, such as waving to them or asking about how they're doing at home and school.
  • Relieve a friend, neighbor, or relative who is feeling overwhelmed with child care and other issues.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect.
  • Advocate for services to help at-risk families.
  • Volunteer in child abuse programs.
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