Imagine this scenario: A child will not go to bed. Everyone is tired. But the baby cries and cries and no one is getting any sleep. The more the child cries, the more that child's stress levels go up, the more the parent is stressed out. Add to that the everyday things that make our blood pressure rise -- mounting bills, trouble at work, a disagreement with a family member -- and that scenario can lead to a person lashing out ... at the child.
We're always going to have these stresses. It's how we cope with these stresses that is key. Key in not having more victims of shaken baby syndrome because the little one won't sleep. We need to protect these children from being abused. Because the stats are alarming. It's been reported that child abuse in infants is a bigger threat than sudden infant death syndrome.
Close to 4,600 U.S. children were hospitalized because they were physically abused in 2006, with babies under 1 being the most abused. It's hard to handle this information. Researchers out of Yale who led the study said there were 58 cases of abuse per 100,000 babies, making it a bigger threat to infants than SIDS. The leader of the study, Dr. John Leventhal, makes a great point:
There is a national campaign to prevent SIDS. We need a national campaign related to child abuse where every parent is reminded that kids can get injured.
The study showed that parents on Medicaid or had financial problems were more likely to be abusive. Even the financial crisis still affecting us led to an increase in traumatic brain injuries on babies caused by the hands of their parents. The researchers also said that the abusive treatment of babies is often triggered by that child crying.
What makes some parents lose control that they abuse their child? This is what we need to figure out -- and it should be everyone's problem. Because it could be our friends, our neighbors, or the family in our town that needs help. It could be the children our kids play with at the playground who are being abused. Who is usually a child's best advocate? The parent. But what if that parent is the one the child needs protection from? What if it's that parents that needs help to control their anger or learn to deal with the stresses that we often cannot escape?
This is where I feel like a peaceful parenting approach can help some families. It may take a lot of practice and patience and the dishes may never get done and the house may be a mess because there may be no time to take care of those things when working on having calm and collected ways of dealing with a child crying, but I'd rather have a happy and healthy family with a messy house than an abusive household that is really clean. I'm not saying that all parents need is to read a Dr. Sears book and all will be fine. But I think if we adhere to the practice of being more nurturing, sweeter and nicer, and more available to our kids, along with being more meditative and calm when dealing with problems that may arise, then it could help. If it could help just one family, one mom or one dad, to not be abusive, then it's worth it. Maybe a national campaign can start with us, looking at ourselves, making changes where needed, and being aware of those around us, offering help if we can.
Do you think a more natural or peaceful parenting approach would help save children from abuse?
Image via Wildcat Dunny/Flickr
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