Our View: Children need love, not abuse during holidays

It can be easy around the holidays to become consumed with the joy within our own hearts and homes, so much so that we can forget that others are having a difficult time during the season.

According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, children are at an increased risk for abuse during the holidays — a fact that many of us may not have considered until now.

Stress can increase during the holidays, even in the most loving of families, putting some children at risk for abuse.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), the state agency charged with child and adult protection, reports that with children home from school, holiday travel and seasonal shopping and associated expenses, parents can get frazzled more easily than usual. What is typically a fun and joyful time for children can become devastating when parents or caregivers cope by becoming abusive. Drug and alcohol abuse may also increase during the holidays, leading to an increase of child safety risk.

With this risk in mind, Mickey Little, a guidance counselor at George Rogers Clark High School aims to raise awareness about the concern for children who are abused during the holiday season.

In an effort to combat this trend, Little, the former counselor at Justice Elementary, and others at the school have started a campaign to remind people to take a moment and be kind to a child. They started in April, which is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and used a grant from The Greater Clark Foundation to design and purchase 50 signs that read, “Stop child abuse. Be kind to kids. It feels good to be loved.”

The signs, which were inspired by the recent “Slow Down” campaign, will be put up around the community where they will be visible to drivers.

Little hopes the signs will help reinforce the need to be vigilant and to take time to be kind to children.

We also hope the signs will be a reminder to the community to be aware and to report suspected child abuse.

Kentucky has one of the highest rates of child abuse in the nation, and it will take each of us to help curb this trend.

If you suspect child abuse, report it by calling (877) KYSAFE1.

Parents who are upset, stressed or feel at risk of endangering their children should reach out to family, friends or professionals for help. Sometimes just a break from the chaos of parenting or even leaving the room and taking 10 seconds to recompose can make a huge difference.

Our children are a valuable and precious gift, but parenting can be difficult and stressful at times.

Let’s all make an effort to be loving toward children this holiday season and moving forward, but to also support parents who need some help.