Preventing abuse starts with our own families.
Are We Nurturing Parents?
We can take an honest look at ourselves and our relationships with our children.
- Do we hit our child or use other physical discipline?
- Do we find ourselves yelling at our child a lot?
- Do we worry that we might hurt our child?
If so, we can take steps to improve our relationships with our children.
How to Help Children Feel Loved and Secure
- We can make sure our child knows we love him or her, even when he or she did something wrong.
- We can encourage our child instead of criticizing; we can praise his or her achievements and talents.
- We can spend time with our child; we can do things together that we both enjoy.
Learning to Manage Anger
Every parent gets angry sometimes. But instead of lashing out at our child, we can:
- Think about why we’re really angry. Is it really something the child did?
- Try to calm down. Take deep breaths or count to 10.
- Call a friend to talk.
- Go outside and take a walk or relax -- if someone can watch our child.
If things seem out of control, or we are worried that we may hurt our child, we can:
- Talk to Someone. Tell a friend, health-care provider, or a leader in the faith community about our concerns.
- Get Counseling. Individual or family counseling can help each of us learn healthy ways to communicate. Human Service Centers in our communities offer a range of services.
- Take a Parenting Class. Parenting classes and support groups are offered in communities throughout North Dakota. Contact PCAND at
or 701.223.9052 for information about parenting classes.
Teaching Children Self-Protection Skills
As parents and loved ones, we can help our children learn ways to protect themselves if necessary. We can teach children:
- How to stay safe in public places.
- The difference between “good touches” and “bad touches.”
- To say no, get away, and tell us right away if anyone tries to touch or hurt him or her.
- That it’s OK to tell certain kinds of “secrets.” (Knowing how loyal children tend to be, those who abuse often tell their victims to keep it a “secret.”)
Being Alert to Signs of Abuse
If our child tells us about being abused, or if we see other warning signs, we need to:
- Assure the child that he or she did nothing wrong and that we believe him or her.
- Take steps to protect the child from the suspected abuser.
- Get medical attention for the child.
- Report the abuse to the county social services office or police.
- Seek counseling for the child.
Source: You Can Help Prevent Child Abuse, Prevent Child Abuse America Publications.