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What to do if you think you might harm your child

Signs that you need to ask for help

  • You cry more than usual.
  • You are unusually tired and often low on patience.
  • You feel alone and like no one understands.
  • You are afraid to be alone with your child.
  • You have had outbursts of anger towards your child that you could not control.
  • You are drinking alcohol or taking drugs to feel better.
  • You have already done something to harm your child.

If you recognise some of the signs that show you need to ask for help, speak to family or friends, or look for parent information and support.

You never need to feel embarrassed about asking for help.

What to do

  • Take a deep breath to try to stay calm.
  • Make sure your child is in a safe place and leave the situation or go into another room.
  • Call a neighbour, family member or friend and ask if they can give you a break.
  • Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or look for vital parent information and support.

You can:

  • talk to someone you trust about what happened or is happening
  • ask for help to prevent it happening again.

People you could talk to might be:

  • family or friends
  • your doctor
  • your child’s teacher
  • other parents in the same situation.

As a parent or carer, take time to look after your own health, make time for yourself and accept offers of help.

Feelings of anxiety, stress and pressure are normal

Caring for a child with disability can be very difficult. Extra pressures can include:

  • health related worries,
  • increased expenses
  • social isolation
  • increased physical demands
  • strain on relationships
  • limited time for relaxation
  • a greater reliance on specialist supports.

It is never okay to harm a child.

Feelings of anxiety, stress and pressure are normal. If these feelings get worse and you are worried you might harm your child, ask for help.


Parenting SA

Phone: 08 8303 1660
Email: health.parentingsa [at] sa.gov.au
Fax: 08 8303 1653