MASON CITY, Iowa – Abuse can define all kinds of treatment toward children and since April is recognized as child abuse awareness month, local organizations are looking to educate families about how to create nurturing homes.
Abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual or even the neglect of a child, but no matter what kind of category it falls into, local officials who work with abused children say it’s a vicious cycle that needs to end.
Family Connections coordinator, Sydney Crippen works with parents to learn how to channel their frustrations and understand how to communicate with their kids.
It’s something that she has become passionate about ever since her own childhood experiences with abuse.
“Our way of working with parents to teach them, not to put them down by any means,” she says, “it’s just to help them learn ways that maybe nobody taught them and show them how to nurture their children.”
According to reports from 2012, there were roughly 11,000 children abused in the state of Iowa.
Many times, the abuse happens at a very young age and it comes from first time parents because they’re unsure what to do in many situations and Crippen says it, “often times it gets taken out on their children.”
Whether it’s physical bruises or the inability to socialize because of neglect, Crisis Intervention Service Executive Director, Mary Ingham has seen it all.
“Even the best baby is going to frustrate even the best parent,” Ingham says.
First time parents can become overwhelmed easily and have a hard time solving issues without getting frustrated with their child.
Ingham says that the best way to approach a stressful situation could be by removing yourself from the situation.
“If your baby cries another 30 seconds while you just sit in the other room and get yourself together, that’s okay,” she says, “it’s really important that parents take care of themselves so that they can take care of their kids.”
Both Ingham and Crippen are hopeful that by reaching out to parents and helping them deal with their frustrations, they can help put an end to child abuse, or at least, break the cycle.
It has been said that children that are being abused can often times become abusers at a later age; by teaching parents how to be nurturing they’re hoping to break this cycle through education.