Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Normally, the holiday season arrives with excitement, joy, love, and family get togethers. It is a time when people reflect on their familial relationships and strive to create some sense of togetherness. If you were to go to the mall, you would most likely hear the Christmas music, see the gorgeous decorations, and watch the special events and functions that are put on in the mall center stage area. You would see the children running here and there as they look in awe at all the cool toys. You would also see the children waiting in line for a chance to sit on Santaís lap and get a goodie from him. The general theme during the holidays, which most people strive for, is togetherness and love.
However, unfortunately, there are many children that never experience the holidays in a pleasant way. As a matter of fact, all the beauty, love, and laughter, that the victim of child abuse observes in the mall, is foreign to them. It is not a part of their daily life. Nor is it a part of their holidays. They can easily become confused, as they observe and possibly wonder why their mommy or daddy doesnít behave the way other moms and dads behave during this time. They watch as parents and children hug each other, stop and gaze at the special events, and laugh heartily as they participate in the events of the mall.
For the child that is being abused, the holidays can be quite stressful. This is because as the holidays approach, the stress level within the home is heightened. Most likely, as the stress levels rise, the abuse that occurs also rises. The victim of child abuse may watch the happenings of the mall as they sit or stand quietly with their abusive parent. They donít laugh. They donít wait in anticipation. They simply live as they have always had to liveÖin fear. They have grown to become aware of what each facial expression means. They know that certain look on their parentís face that warns them of impending abuse when they get back home. So, the child that is being abused must walk on egg shells and strive to behave just as they have been taught. It is not a time of joy. It is a time of fear for the child.
After reading this article, you may be wondering what you can do to help the victim of child abuse. My recommendation would be that you might want to look into any type of agency in your community that deals directly with families that are at high risk of abuse. They may also know of families that have directly requested help with regard to gifts and holiday meals. Perhaps you might be able to donate a meal for one family for Thanksgiving. That can mean a lot to the child and their family. It might also reduce stress levels in the childís home. Granted, we may not be able to reduce the amount of abuse that occurs, but we can most certainly help to reduce the level of stress.
Please consider purchasing a ready-to-eat meal for one family this Thanksgiving. Contact local agencies, or even churches, to see if there are families that are in need of a Thanksgiving day meal. The children deserve to have a holiday that is free from stress and abuse. Do it for the children.