Column: Protect children from rageI’ve been hearing more about rage in the news lately, whether it be road rage, “roid” range (rage produced due to steroid or other drug use) or the rage exhibited by coaches or parents at sporting events.
By: Ann Busche, For the Budgeteer News
I’ve been hearing more about rage in the news lately, whether it be road rage, “roid” range (rage produced due to steroid or other drug use) or the rage exhibited by coaches or parents at sporting events.
Rage is defined as a violent or explosive anger, and is an extreme response when compared to the triggering incident.
While there is no “good” story of rage, the most difficult stories are those that involve children.
In the Duluth area, we in Public Health and Human Services unfortunately see the effects of rage on children, whether it be a child with bruises or broken bones or a baby brought to the emergency room, limp and unresponsive, due to being shaken violently. Sometimes the act of rage is witnessed by children and it is very upsetting and confusing for them to see their parent acting in such a violent way.
April is Child Abuse Prevention month: a good time to remind parents, grandparents and any adult who interacts with children about the great responsibility we have to nurture and protect the
children in our lives and to never inflict any harm.
While the above examples are the extreme ways children have been harmed during a fit of rage or anger, children are abused and neglected in many less extreme ways every day. Neglecting a child, whether it is emotional or physical, can be just as devastating as abusing a child.
We can all help to protect children. Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota (the local chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, pcamn.org) offers the following protective factors to prevent child abuse:
Be a nurturing parent or caregiver. Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams. Small acts of kindness and protection, like a hug, a smile, or loving words, can make a big difference to a child. We can all smile at a small child!
Learn how to care for a child and about child development. Children don’t come with a manual; learn about child development and use that knowledge to help your child or the children in your life to reach their full potential.
Be resilient. Caring for or raising a child is tough and can be stressful; the big and little problems of everyday life can pile up to the point where it is overwhelming. Learning the skills needed to handle the stress and overcome the problems or challenges will allow the adults in a child’s life to make it through large and small crises.
Look for connections and supports. Parents need family, friends and neighbors for help and support. If you can, offer a helping hand to a take care of the children, so the parent(s) can rest or spend time together.
Basic needs must be met. Parents who have adequate housing, financial resources, and other concrete supports are better able to focus on parenting because their basic needs are met. If you can, bring a meal to a family or encourage them to get a hand up through programs such a financial assistance or Women Infant and Child (WIC) nutritional program.
Children, especially babies, have limited ability to communicate their needs. It can be frustrating to hear a baby cry and not know what to do to comfort or address the needs of the baby. Learn the skills to remain calm if the baby won’t stop crying. Never shake a baby — shaking a child may result in severe injury or death.
If you are a new parent, talk to your doctor, other parents, or check out the website above to learn more about parenting skills. If you are worried that a child is being abused, call us at (218)726-2012. Tell us about your concerns and let us help the family to get the skills needed to raise their child free from abuse or neglect.
Ann Busche is the director of Public Health and Human Services for St. Louis County. Contact her at 726-2096 or email: email@example.com.