According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), child abuse takes place in several forms. They report that child abuse and neglect include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. They find that it’s highly prevalent, with 1 in 7 children experiencing some form of abuse or neglect. They also report several factors associated with it, including having young parents, single parents, low parental income, parental substance abuse, parental mental health issues, parental history of abuse or neglect, family disorganization, and parenting stress, among other issues. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and The Dads’ Resource Center is promoting awareness of how father involvement is one of the primary factors in preventing these horrible situations from occurring.
Given the opportunity, there is much that dads can do to help prevent child abuse. This leads to children having healthier childhoods that give them their best chance at being successful in life, and along with that a happier and more productive society. Here are 5 ways that dads can prevent child abuse:
1. Setting the tone for their families.
Regardless of how difficult things may be a father has to display strength and conviction at all times. When dads are steady and calm, consistently do the right thing, and treat others with respect, families are less susceptible to the instability that can lead to violence or abuse.
2. Being an active father.
Studies show that when fathers develop bonds with their children early in life that becomes a protective factor against child abuse. Similarly, the more involved a father is the more supported mothers will be, which relieves tension and stress.
3. Ensuring the family finances.
According to the CDC, there are practical factors that help to reduce child abuse and neglect. These include families having safe and stable housing and being more economically stable. Children are also more protected when they feel safe, protected, nurtured, and their basic needs are all being met.
4. Building the father-child relationship.
A father’s relationship with his children is crucial to their overall health and well-being. Make it a goal to nurture the relationship so children feel safe, confident, and well adjusted.
5. Not being afraid to ask for help.
If any family members have anger issues, make it a point for them to get help. This obviously includes fathers themselves. Family members must learn how to handle their emotions healthily so they don’t lash out at others.
“Fathers are the foundation of any family,” says Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeff Steiner. “Those who are not doing so need to step up and be the father their children need them to be, and we need systemic reform to eliminate the ways that our family court, county, and human services systems impede or deny father family involvement.”
The Dads’ Resource Center is committed to providing education, resources, and advocacy for dads who are separated or divorced and are determined to uphold their sacred responsibility as fathers. The Dads’ Resource Center was founded by Dr. Joel N. Myers, the founder and CEO of AccuWeather. His own experience as a single father led him to start the group. Click here for more information.