Child Abuse & Neglect: Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse:
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The most important step in addressing this escalating break down of our Guyanese society is recognizing that this cycle can be disastrous for our future generations. While physical abuse is very obvious, there are emotional and sexual abuse which are more latent.
The long term effects of this vicious cycle are being seen today. Take a look around and notice the broken relationships, lack of trust, low self esteem, and roller coaster emotional issues. Could all of these perils of society be prevented, if the signs were identified and addressed at an earlier age?
Often times, we see only the bruises and scars of physical abuse. While a generation ago we were made to believe that caning was appropriate at school and home, that has since changed. There are still some who remain that hitting a child garners the highest results of disciplining. Or is it physical abuse? Can we recognize that this form of discipline is detrimental to child development? What about the abusive language we use? "You good for nothing." We are instilling in our developing minds that they are not worth anything. How can we expect them to grow up and be brave to say no to an abuser? Child neglect plays a big role in children's self worth. A parent may not be physically able to take care of a child, older siblings may be left as parents. Or adults may be in depression, drug addiction, or alcoholism and neglect the care of their children. All of these instances are types of child abuse.
Child sexual abuse is fastly becoming the norm. It seems like everyday there is another report of a grown man with an under age girl. What about sexual abuse with boys? Are they being reported? Is the shame too much? The most frightening thing is, child sexual abuse happens at the hands of a close relative or a trusted person. The person who builds trust and has free access to the child are the ones who commit these predatory acts. Child sexual abuse is not only physical. There are elements of early exposure to sexual materials and situation that can be very harmful to a child's tender mind. The emotional burden of shame and guilt of a child can lead to suppression for a lifetime. Some people carry these acts for a lifetime. The burden and pain can shape their entire existence.
If this cycle is not broken soon, there may well be another generation of tortured souls. It is imperative that adults take stock in themselves and recognize their actions and how it affects their kids. Learn what is age appropriate material to expose your child to. Be responsible and learn proper parenting skills. Times are changing. How your parents raised you may not be the only way to raise your child. Break the cycle. Change is good. Reach out for help groups, talk to someone. You would be surprised how much help is out there if you only reach. Be the adult and embrace your child if this horrible act has happened to them. This is not the time for an interrogation or a who say, them say, and what you as an untrained professional can prove or not. This is the time to support your child, listen, love, and comfort. Reassure and keep your child safe.