Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Unfortunately, we are in the midst of financial difficulties, as a nation. The recent news reports are inflamed with fears of further losses for both companies and individuals. There are people that have lost everything they have invested. For some, they have no other savings left. You might be asking what this has to do with child abuse. The truth is, stressors can increase risks of children being abused, especially financial stressors. While what we are experiencing as a nation cannot be used as an excuse to abuse a child, it is a reality.
Abuse does not just affect low-income families or poor families. There are no boundaries when it comes to abuse. All incomes, all genders, all races, all religions etc. are affected by abuse. Financial stressors can create havoc in the home. When a parent loses a job or is laid off from work, they face very difficult times ahead - financially. This can lead to mental health issues as well. A parent that has been able to provide for their family and suddenly finds themselves in dire straights with their finances can go through depression. This depression can change their way of thinking and coping. It is at this time that child abuse can come into play. Does this condone the parents abuse towards their child? No! Not in any way! However, please know that this is a reality within our country. The parent that is tremendously stressed out might lash out at their children, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
There may also be issues of neglect. I find it completely necessary to point something out. There are families that are low-income, which cannot provide the very best in material possessions for their children. They may be on a very tight budget and have very little to spend when it comes to purchasing needed clothing and shoes. However, just because the family is low-income, and doesnít have many financial resources, that doesnít mean the parents are abusive towards their children, or neglectful, for that matter. I know of several parents that couldnít afford the best in clothes, shoes, bags etc. However, they found a way to work around their circumstances. They went to thrift stores and purchased clothing. They looked for incredible sales on shoes. My point is that they found a way to provide for their children. Neglect happens when a parent shows no concern for their childrenís needs whatsoever. Parents that neglect their children in this way are not using what financial means that they have to provide clothing for their children. Neither are they concerned with washing the clothes. Their children often wear clothes that are too small and soiled. They wear shoes that do not properly fit. Their children also do not eat well. This is neglect. Every child deserves to have their needs met.
My request, to my readers today, is that they become aware to the situations of the children in their lives. Financial stressors can indeed increase risks of child abuse. Be watchful over the children that you have in your life, whether they be a friendís child, a church memberís child, a child of a friend of a friend. Look for the warning signs of child abuse. Be active in the lives of the children you are around. If you go to a store and witness abuse happening, call it in. Iíve had to do that before. While shopping in a thrift store, about four years ago, I witnessed a father beating his child because the child did not put the clothes on fast enough. I went to the clerk and asked her to call the police. That was the best thing I could do in order to help that little one. Donít be afraid to make that call. We are in stressful times right now, economically. They are times that are filled with great fears and uncertainties. We can help the children. We can be aware of the warning signs and do what is necessary to help the children.