There are times when writing about Child Development seems to me a minimal way to make a difference in the life of a child. I feel a little vain also, trying to come off as some kind of know it all or expert. After reading two stories in the local paper, I know why it is that I write. I write in hopes that a parent will take the time to learn a bit about their child and readjust their attitude and actions toward their child.
It is just my way, for now, to help parents enjoy the life of their young child. Twice in the last two months I’ve read about two infants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area being severely physically abused. One of those infants died, the other will probably be mentally disabled at best.
I can’t imagine what goes through the minds of people who have caused harm to children. Do they just deny the shame and blame the infant. Do they think it was worth harming or killing their child to get relief? I’m writing because I’m not sure, yet, what else I can do to help the innocent and helpless children that are getting abused. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior. There are plenty of childless couples in the world ready to take a U.S. infant into their lives, there are social services on the ready to train parents on how to cope with stress. There are neighbors who will go out of their way to temporarily take an infant for the sake of the parents taking a moment to regroup. There are hospitals, firehouses, or heck even the local libraries to use as a safe place for a baby.
I’m writing this article with a heavy heart and with determination to spread the word about helping an infant survive. I’m also publicly saying that if anyone knows me personally and they know someone who is going to cause harm to their child that I will personally come to aid that child. I will be the safety net and take on the care of that child or infant in order for the parent to take time and think about what it is they are doing or about to do.
I know because I’m a parent. I know how much stress a child can bring into the life of parents. I know that the media over-glamorizes parenthood and that the reality is that parenting is work. I know that infants cry relentlessly at times in order for their needs to be met, and that their needs are many and challenging. I also know that in the environment of stress that listening and learning to decipher an infant’s cry is put off because it’s one more thing to take time away from other “important” matters.
But, I also know this, when an infant is inconsolable and refuses to be fed and can’t sleep that there is something happening that merits a visit to the doctor. I know, too, that this often happens in the middle of the night and there is seemingly nowhere to turn.
Parents hear this, walk away. There is less wrong with a parent’s walking away and calming themselves down than to put a hand on an infant or child. At the very least, attempt to give the child a dose of pain reliever, a clean diaper and then walk away. The child will cry and you will too, but calm yourself and then return to the child when you can to assure the child you are still there. Only pick up the child if you are calm. If you feel more than overwhelmed and unable to calm down, then it’s time to get help. There is no shame in this. I don’t know anyone who has been a parent that hasn’t asked for help. If you find yourself with no help around, then call 9-1-1. The caller will guide you to help. This is an emergency if you find yourself on the brink of hurting your child.
Infants and children are a challenge to love and parent. They are a joy and bring laughter and sweetness, but yes, they also will bring to you the hardest work you’ve ever done. The challenges of parenting can bring you to a breaking point when other things have not. Do the right thing and get help.