End Violence Against Children

Ending violence against children will reduce child mortality, permanent neurological impairment, other cognitive and emotional morbidities, and the arrest and incarceration of many who would not have committed such violence if they understood other options. This challenge is more achievable than ending violence among people because violence against children is unidirectional and cannot be dismissed as self-defense or otherwise justified as preventing purposeful coercive acts by other adults. The mechanisms to end violence against children include proper preparation among new parents (e.g., improved “Purple Crying” type programs that aim to prevent violence via baby shaking), among parents of frustrating toddlers, and among parents of emerging adolescents and young adults–all high risk populations. Ending violence against children will require coordination of vital records (e.g., birth certificate data) with child welfare data (to trigger services to parents of newborns who have prior histories of child welfare involvement), primary care providers who see difficult child and parent relationships that need parent education and support, school personnel who see aggressive behavior of children that may invite peer violence and who may also see aggression by parents toward children, domestic violence services, mental health services, and so on. Social media needs to be engaged along with toy and game manufacturers. The strategies for soothing difficult children and feeding children calmly need to become universally known. The result will be less toxic stress, better family relations, higher educational attainment, and less medical care. Court costs would be reduced. The improved skills for parenting without violence could help generate more cooperative problem solving among adults.

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