This New Dawn

Laurel Hall Author and PoetWhat You Can Do:  How can we help families in trouble?  Many times, abuse occurs in low-income families where there are no extra resources for fun and family life. Here are some things one might do to reduce stress:

 1)    If you know a family in financial need, give them your used children’s clothing, furniture, toys, or whatever they might need that you feel you can part with.

2)    If someone you know doesn’t have family nearby to help out, volunteer to babysit so the parents can have time alone to go shopping, or for a night out.

3)    If you know someone who has just had a new baby, volunteer to help the new parents in any way you can.

4)    Perform an act of kindness. Have a grocery store deliver a bag or two of groceries as a gift from an anonymous donor.”

5)    If you are out shopping and a child is creating a ruckus, stop and begin a conversation with the parent to direct attention away from the child. For example, let her know that you know what she is experiencing by empathizing with her and saying something like ‘You look like you have your hands full today. I remember when my children were young; going shopping was a challenge.’ Or you might even ask, ‘What can I do to help you?’

6)    Talk directly to the child, telling her that she has pretty eyes or that her dress is really pretty. Anything to divert the child. And, if there is more than one child, complement each child.”

7)    Become involved in local programs that support child abuse prevention.”

8)    Let your children know who they can go to if they are hurt.

9)    Teach your children to solve problems without using violence.

10) Become better acquainted with neighbors and offer to help if you realize a family has issues and is under stress.

11) Become acquainted with your children’s friends and make them feel welcome.”

12) Tell your children never to get into a car with anyone they don’t know or they don’t usually ride with unless their parents have given them permission. Even if you do know someone, make sure you feel comfortable with that person and trust them at all times. And that, no matter what a stranger says, never believe him. They are lying. A child abductor might approach a child and say that they have lost a puppy or kitten, and ask if the child will you help them find it? Teach your child not to fall for these kinds of tricks.

13) If you know a child is being abused, report it! You may save a life. You can call 911 or Childhelp, USA National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD

14) Find out what family resources are available in your community, such as parenting support groups, sliding-scale counseling, or crisis respite care. Maybe you can even ask your library to create a parenting resource section.

Caring for victims,

Laurel Hal