Parenting is not easy an easy job. Sometimes, it may be extremely stressful, and at other times, incredibly fulfilling. But no matter which side you may relate to more, all parental decisions must be focused on the protection, well-being and best interest of your child.
In this article, we will give you information that every parent/guardian should know to prevent one of the most widespread issues affecting children in the world today: Child Abuse.
Parents/Guardians should be mindful of the following when raising a child:
- You are responsible for protecting your child from harm
According to the laws of Trinidad and Tobago (e.g. Children Act ), all parents/guardians are responsible for protecting their child from violence, exploitation and harm. This includes all forms of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional and neglect).
- You are responsible for exercising control over your emotions
Parents are human and can get frustrated. However, all parents hold a level of authority and influence over their children and must not use this position to hurt or degrade them.
As a parent/guardian, be mindful to not be overwhelmed by your emotions and use excessive punishments on a child to relieve your anger and frustrations. Instead, use the authority you have over your child to guide them to make better decisions.
Physical or corporal punishment is strongly advised against, as research shows that it can easily escalate into abuse. Instead, use non-physical discipline that is appropriate for a child’s age, size and maturity.
- You are responsible for making wise decisions regarding your current or future child(ren)
We urge all parents/guardians to be aware that you are responsible for the care of your child. This includes providing for all their financial, educational, medical and all other needs. As a result, parents/guardians who cannot support these needs should access the public support services available, as well as make smart, healthy life choices to prevent circumstances that endanger the life of a child or their ability to reach their fullest potential.
If you are struggling with parenting and want to seek support, you can contact any of the following:
- Families in Action: 628-6333
- Ministry of Social Development and Family Services Hotline: 800-1MSD
- The National Family Services Division: 794-7483 or 784-5538
If you believe that your child may be experiencing psychosocial issues, contact any of the following for support:
- ChildLine: 800-4321
- Children’s Authority: 996 or 800-2014