This article is part of an editorial series, “Discipline Discussion” brought to you by Fort Worth Moms. Join our subscriber list so you don’t miss a moment of “Discipline Discussions” and all Fort Worth Moms has to offer throughout the year.
The loud, harsh voice. Aggressive body language and actions. It’s hard to sit on the sidelines and watch as a parent loses his or her or cool with a child. There’s discipline and then there’s discipline that goes too far. And that’s called child abuse.
Of course no parent is perfect. I’ve been short with my daughter and raised my voice with her. As the words leave my mouth, I feel terrible. Later, I apologize and use it as a teachable moment to demonstrate humility and remorse.
But what happens when you witness a child becoming a victim of abuse or suspect a child is being mistreated, whether it’s verbal, sexual, or physical? What can you do? How do you step in and what tools do you have as an “outsider?”
A good first step, whether you have questions or need immediate assistance, is to reach out for help. You do not have to be 100% certain, have all the details, or even have a clear understanding of what is considered abuse or not. If you feel like something is off, ask for help. You can’t vet or remedy the situation; ask for help from others who can — and ask immediately. However, if the abuse is imminent or someone has confided in you, contact authorities immediately. Call 911. Don’t wait. Don’t be talked out of it. Get help.
Fort Worth Moms has compiled a list of other resources you can use if you witness or suspect child abuse.
Fort Worth Resources for Child Abuse
These local resource will help answer questions you have about the signs of child abuse, what you can do, and how to get the child to a safe place.
Articles and Resources About Child Abuse
Over the years, Fort Worth Moms has had several articles, as well as a Momfessions Podcast episodes, that address child abuse. Some are about parenting after being a victim of abuse and other are specific to what to do.