April is a grim reminder that child abuse still happens every day. In my work as a social worker and as a foster parent, I've learned that most parents who abuse their children actually aren't bad people.
Instead, they just seem to lack knowledge about parenting skills. Sometimes they don't have appropriate expectations of their children and sometimes they are dealing with incredible amounts of stress in their lives. Obviously none of this excuses child abuse, but it does explain it a little bit.
When parents lack knowledge or information about appropriate types of discipline, they often repeat whatever they learned growing up. Sometimes this causes the cycle of abuse to be repeated. However, not all people who were abused as a child go on to become abusive parents. Many of them learn new skills and go on to become great parents.
As a community, we can all do our part to help prevent child abuse. Various social services agencies work on meeting family's basic needs and also teaching parenting skills. The Child Welfare League offers information about how people can find ways to help prevent child abuse in their local community.