An important discussion often glazed over in the Afro Caribbean community is childcare and child abuse. This taboo topic is often glazed over because of traditional practices of corporal punishment in the Caribbean. Neglecting to educate children in a manner that is productive to their growth can cause problems for the child later in life and can stunt their growth. Listed below are some tips on child abuse prevention, how to recognize the signs, and steps you can take instead of physical punishment.
· Discipline your children thoughtfully – never discipline your child when you are upset. This can lead to overreaction and a harsh punishment.
· Examine your behavior – make sure you are encouraging with both physical touch and words, using positive words are motivation
· Explain what they did wrong – children are learning and every day is an opportunity to teach them right from wrong. Use this to be an example to tell them what is right and what is wrong so they know for the future
· Use positive incentives – create positive incentives for your child to follow instructions. For example, more time playing outside, more time on the internet, playing with friends are all examples of positive incentives to help discipline
· Be slow to use physical punishment – if you can refrain from spanking or other forms of harsh physical touch and instead take away phones, internet, or things your child values (for a temporary period of time) this will create a more positive environment to learn while on punishment
· Teach children their rights – When you show a child that they are respected and know they are special and in a safe environment, they are more willing to learn and respect you back as the authoritative figure
· Listen to your children – if there is bad behavior, try talking to your kids to see where it is coming from. Maybe bulling at school or insecurities growing up can be affecting your child. Acting out usually stems from home or social life. Listening to your child can help boost their self confidence and make them more comfortable trusting adult authority
If there is someone you know abusing or experiencing abuse do not hesitate to call your local child abuse hotline. Help speak out to create a generation of stronger children.