An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Commentaries : Display
NEWS | April 7, 2008

Stop the cycle: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

By Julie Couture Family Advocacy Program

Most of us have seen children throw temper tantrums in the middle of a store. Some of us might have actually been those children at one time. Although it's undoubtedly frustrating for parents, there is a method to the madness. 

Children often do not know how to express their emotions appropriately, so they do what comes naturally - they scream, kick and cry. They are frustrated - but can't tell us why - and we become frustrated because "they aren't acting their age;" but they are.
Moments like these can cause parents to yell or spank. Unfortunately, this doesn't always stop the river of tears. 

One of the ways parents can help children figure out their emotions and possibly prevent child abuse is through the use of time outs. Time outs are just that - taking time out from the situation - for children and parents. The amount of time a child spends in time out is based on age; each year equals one minute. For example, a 5-year-old would spend five minutes in a time out. 

Using time outs give children - and parents - a break and are most effective when parents and caretakers talk with the child after the time out to discuss why it happened and what children can do to "right their wrong." 

In addition to helping children understand and deal with their feelings, time outs may also help prevent future patterns of abuse. 

One of the best ways to prevent child abuse in the future is to teach children when they're young how to appropriately treat other people. If children see people hit out of frustration, whether it's on television or in real life, they'll learn it's OK to hit others when they're angry. If children see adults set appropriate boundaries, such as removing themselves from situations when they're angry or doing something constructive instead of lashing out or hurting others, children will learn to do the same. 

It's up to us to teach them how to express themselves appropriately so that no one gets hurt. 

For more information on the services available from Langley's Family Advocacy Program, call (757) 764-2427.