How to Prevent Emotionally Abusing Children

Here are some tips for parents in order to help to adapt to the ever increasing challenges of parenting:

For Parents of Infants:
  • Learn the basics – There are many ways for you to learn how to change a diaper of bathe a baby. Read parenting books and magazines. Ask your parents or other parents you know.
  • Love your baby – Give all you’ve got! Talk to your baby. Touch, hold, hug, kiss, smile and enjoy! It’s impossible to spoil a baby with attention. They need as much as you can give.
  • Discover what’s what – Pay close attention to all the sounds (cooing, babbling, gurgling and crying) your baby makes, as well as facial expressions and body movements. Each one means something different.
  • Never use physical force – The pressures of parenting are very real. You need to find safe, satisfying ways to release them, but never on your baby.
For Parents of Toddlers:
  • Take a deep breath – The assault on your house and your personal belongings…this too shall pass. At this stage everything your toddler sees is new, exciting and waiting to be explored.
  • Childproof your house – Pack away your treasures and lock up any dangerous or poisonous items. You’ll breathe a lot easier, and you won’t have to say “No!” so often.
  • Keep the rules simple and few – Your major goal is to keep your toddler safe. Table manners can wait! And so can toilet training.
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General Parenting Tips:

  • Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Take time to exercise, read, nap or work on a special project to recharge your batteries.
  • You are a mirror for your children. They believe what you say about them. Use words that help, not words that hurt.
  • Respect children and use a courteous tone of voice. Respect brings respect. A pleasant tone of voice can pay off in an improved relationship.
  • Children are never too old to be told they are loved. Say it or write it in a note that your child can keep.
  • Give your child chores around the house. It helps build cooperation and responsibility.
  • Rules help children feel secure. Without limits children do not know where they stand and what they are supposed to do.
  • Help children feel good about their successes with ‘you’ messages. Instead of “I am proud of you”, try “You really worked hard on that, I bet that makes you feel proud.”
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Twelve Alternatives to Lashing Out at Your Child:

The next time everyday pressures build up to the point where you feel like lashing out – STOP! Try any of these simple alternatives. You’ll feel better…and so will your child.
  • Take a deep breath…and another. Then remember that you are the adult.
  • Close your eyes and imagine you’re hearing what your child is about to hear.
  • Press your lips together and count to 10…or better yet, to 20.
  • Put your child in a time-out chair (remember this rule: one time-out minute for each year of age.)
  • Put yourself in a time-out chair. Think about why you are angry: is it your child, or is your child simply a convenient target for your anger?
  • Phone a friend.
  • If someone can watch the children, go outside and take a walk.
  • Take a hot bath or splash cold water on your face.
  • Hug a pillow.
  • Turn on some music. Maybe even sing along.
  • Pick up a pencil and write down as many helpful words as you can think of. Save the list.
  • Call for prevention information: 1-800-CHILDREN
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