For the Sake of the Children
“All children are uniquely created in the image of God and gifted with both purpose and unlimited potential. We can and must relentlessly protect our children, homes, and communities from the scourge of these shameful tragedies and support families and communities to ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their potential.” ~ President Donald J. Trump
This quote, taken from a proclamation issued by our President, declares April 2020 to be National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is a powerful statement and one I would encourage every American to read and ponder.
Child abuse and neglect is unfortunately not a new or unique topic.
Every day, children in our country suffer at the hands of their abusers and experience the emotional devastation of neglect. It is a hard reality to which we must never become desensitized or distracted.
Our children are our most treasured resource and we must not become complacent in providing the care, protection, support, love and guidance they need and deserve. Strong communities are built on strong families, strong couplehoods and secure children.
My heart and affinity for building strong, safe and secure homes and families is both a professional and personal matter. As a clinician, I see the devastating impact of familial dysfunction and abuse on a regular basis, however, it is my own experiences of abuse, trauma, and healing that truly fire my passion for helping families restructure the harmful intergenerational patterns that fuel abuse and perpetuate neglect and trauma into future generations.
Because it is the nature of a child to be dependent, the best deterrent against child abuse and neglect is the health and emotional capacity of the adults to whom they are dependent. Surround a child with healthy, engaged, loving, and stable adults and the likelihood of abuse and/or neglect becomes improbable. Privy a child with stable, secure, loving and mature parents and that child’s potentiality becomes a surety.
The task of meeting the needs of the child begins by meeting the needs of the adults.
If we want to grow healthy, happy and well-developed children, we must first grow and develop healthy, happy and mature adults. Often, this entails helping the adults heal from their own traumatic experiences and unhealthy intergenerational patterns.
Pro-family, pro-marriage, and pro-parenting programs can help parents and extended family members find healing and increase their ability to function as relationally, emotionally, behaviorally, and spiritually mature individuals, partners, families, and communities. These types of collaborative efforts provide an effective method for addressing and resolving the underlying issues that drive familial dysfunction and facilitate child abuse and neglect.
It is important to point out, however, that not all child abuse and neglect are created equal.
While it would be correct to state that efforts to increase parenting skills, alleviate family stressors, and support strong family units act as deterrents to child abuse and neglect, such measures are not designed to alleviate or control the more nefarious side of the child abuse story because not all child abuse or neglect is created equal.
While it is proper to address the issue of child abuse and neglect as a family systems issue and highlight the role healthy, engaged parenting plays in the development of well-adjusted, happy and secure children, programs to increase parenting skills and restructure the family unit cannot solve the problem of serious and deviant forms of child abuse, exploitation, and trauma.
The willful and deliberate abuse, exploitation and violent malfeasance of children must be directly addressed and exposed as a perversion of our most basic human instinct to protect the innocent and vulnerable. Such acts fall outside of the normal parameters of human decency and must be dealt with on a judicial level and provide strong consequences to those who choose to willingly harm a child for monetary, sexual or evil intent.
At a time when the value of human life and the certainty of death has been placed on full display, it is important to remember the most vulnerable, dependent, and voiceless members of our society and our duty to provide for their protection and well-being. In the midst of this present darkness, we must not forget the full extent of the suffering around us. Every life is precious and every life deserves to be fought for and defended. For the sake of our country, for the sake of the children, we must take a stand, we must prevail.
Thank you, President Trump, for placing the welfare of our children front and center and calling us to a higher level of respect and accountability for all life.
Grace and peace,
Chrysalis Connections, LLC
Teresa M. Walters, MA, LMFT, LAC
204 Hobbs Street
Plainfield, IN 46168