Here are some basic tips from child welfare experts if you find yourself in a situation where intervention could be helpful to parent or child.
- SHOW EMPATHY FOR THE PARENT: There is no need to be judgmental or offensive. Losing one’s cool doesn’t make them a bad parent; it may simply mean that the parent has reached the end of the rope in a very long hectic day.
- EXERCISE COMMON SENSE: A parent’s gentle slap of the hand of a youngster who dives into the candy bin can be an appropriate form of discipline. However, hitting a small child about the head and face, or shaking a baby is not appropriate and a call to 911 should immediately be made.
- QUICKLY AND DISCREETLY DE-ESCALATE A TENSE SITUATION: Avoiding the situation sends the message to the parent and the child that it is acceptable to lose control and strike out at another person.
- BE READY IN AN EMERGENCY: We’ve all witnessed the screaming-child-in-the-supermarket scenario. Most parents take the typical tantrum in stride. But some may become overwhelmed. Prevent Child Abuse America suggests the following tips if you encounter a parent under pressure:
- Talk to the adult to get their attention away from the child. Be friendly.
- Say something like, “Children can really wear you out, can’t they?”
- Ask if you can help in any way.
- If you see a child alone in a public place, for example unattended in a grocery cart, stay with the child until the parent returns.
Child Abuse Series:
The Cleveland Police Foundation, in partnership with the Cleveland Division of Police and the Ohio Crime Prevention Association present these tips so citizens can help to make our community safer.