Children are vulnerable individuals whose welfare is dependent on their parents or guardians. This exposes the children to the risk of suffering abuse and neglect from their caretakers. Hunt (2014) declares that the maltreatment of children occurs across all socio-economic, cultural and ethnic groups with negative consequences on the development of the child. Child abuse and neglect have deleterious effects on the future life of the child.
It is therefore necessary to take steps to tackle these issues and ensure the healthy emotional and physical development of the child. This paper will describe four events that can be implemented to strengthen the family and therefore reduce or eliminate incidents of child abuse and neglect.
Events to Strengthen the Family
Playgroup events can play a major role in strengthening the family on issues of child abuse and neglect is playgroups. Parents who come from the same neighborhood or those whose children attend the same school or daycare facility can form playgroups. The events provide a chance for families with similar interests and children of the same ages to connect with each other and share their experiences. Selph and Bougatsos (2013) reveal that the events are hugely beneficial to both the parents and their children.
The children are able to develop through play and interaction with their peers. The social skills and learning of the children is enhanced as they engage in play activities. Research indicates that play groups contribute to shaping family life and equipping parents with the tools necessary to engage in the challenging task of raising children (Hunt, 2014). Playgroup events provide an informal forum for parents to discuss their parenting issues and concern.
Nilsen (2010) confirms that parents are not only able to obtain important advice from their peers, but they also get to realize that other people are going through the same hurdles as they are. This is empowering especially to new parents who might feel overwhelmed by the difficulties of parenting.
These events also promote a feeling of community and each parent begins to take an interest in the wellbeing of the children of his/her friend. This makes it possible to identify incidents of abuse among children in the playgroup and take appropriate action in response.
A church/synagogue/mosque retreat activity for parents and they children can be beneficial in strengthening parents to deal with the issues of child abuse and neglect. Religion plays an important role in the lives of many individuals and they rely on their faith to inform their actions in many situations. The religious institute can therefore play a major role in promoting child safety in the community (Nilsen, 2010).
A retreat event can be planned for the parents in the congregation on a weekend. This retreat will be sponsored by the religious body, which will make it affordable to all the parents. An important advantage of faith-based events is that they possess significant resources since the congregation is made up of a variety of professionals including teachers, nurses, pediatricians, and social works. These professionals will be able to provide free advice on how to safeguard children during the retreat (Hunt, 2014).
Another benefit of the faith-based event is that it relies on the shared religious beliefs of the participants. The religious beliefs of the parents can therefore be used to exhort them to engage in good parenting practices. The religious-based family retreat will provide numerous opportunities for the families to socialize with each other.
There will be coffee breaks during which the parents and children will interact with each other and exchange contacts. Veteran parents will share their experiences and provide advice to the younger parents. The faith-based event will therefore serve as a good opportunity for the parents to establish social support systems.
Technological events can play a part in mitigating child abuse and neglect in the society. Specifically, parents can make use of online forums to learn about appropriate parenting practices and acquire skills for protecting their children against abuse. The online forum should be designed to attract parents who wish to improve the safety and wellbeing of their children. This technological tool can include a facilitator who will initiate discussion topics and moderate the discussions taking place on the website.
Online forums enable parents to express their concerns and issues in a safe environment. Through online forums, parents can be linked to numerous resources for strengthening families. Nilsen (2010) documents that there is a correlation between exposure to educational resources and a decrease in incidents of child abuse and neglect. Parents are also able to gain tangible benefits from the online events. Through the event, parents are made aware of the community resources available to them as they raise their child.
Nilsen (2010) asserts that information on available community resources is of great importance especially to parents who are at-risk of neglecting their children due to limited economic resources. A benefit of online events is that they are accessible to many parents at their convenience.
Parents do not need to adjust their schedules in order to participate in these events. This is an important factor since most parents might be overwhelmed by obligations that make it impossible for them to engage in events that require them to be physically present at venues outside their home or work setting.
Parents can enroll on home visitation programs to assist in the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The home visitation event should be voluntary and semi-formal in nature. An important feature of these events is that Nurses or Educators, who possess expert knowledge on childhood development, carry them out. These experts are able to convey to the parents professional information on subjects such as positive parenting practices.
Selph and Bougatsos (2013) reveal that such events can be of great service to pregnant women as well as families with young children. Through the home visitation, the parents are provided with information about their child’s development. The professionals can also help parents to gain a better understanding about age-appropriate behavior for their children. The home visitation events should be developed with cultural factors in mind.
Different cultures have varying values and customs that influence how the parents deal with their children. Nilsen (2010) asserts that the professionals engaging in the visitation must demonstrate sensitivity to cultures whose values and customs are different from their own. The strengths of the specific culture should be exploited to increase the safety of the child. In cultures were extended family bounds are strong, the visitation events can be scheduled to include some of the members of the extended family.
These members can be equipped to provide assistance to at-risk children and parents within their family. Parents who enroll in home visitation events are well equipped to engage in positive parenting and as a result, they engage in fewer acts of physical aggression towards their children (Promising Practices Network, 2010).
Child abuse and neglect have a lasting negative impact on the lives of children. This paper set out to discuss events that can be used to strengthen families and therefore mitigate or prevent these damaging issues from happening.
The paper has described playgroup events, faith-based activities, technological events, and home visitation programs that can be used to strengthen families. By implementing these events, the family will be equipped to prevent child abuse and neglect therefore ensuring the healthy psychological and physical wellbeing of the child.
Hunt, K. (2014). Safeguarding children – the need for vigilance. Practice Nurse, 44(6), 18-22.
Nilsen, B. A. (2010). Week by Week: Plans for Documenting Children’s Development. NY: Cengage Learning.
Promising Practices Network. (2010). Promising Practices for Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect. NY: RAND Corporation.
Selph, S. & Bougatsos, C. (2013). Behavioral Interventions and Counseling to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect: A Systematic Review to Update the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation. Annals of Internal Medicine, 158(3), 179-190.