Overcoming Child Abuse

Reflections on recovery.

How to Comfort Your Child's Fears and Sorrow Concerning Colorado's Tragedy

Specific suggestions for helping children of all ages

My PT blog assignment, under the main topic of resiliency, is to write about different issues related to overcoming child abuse. Is there anything more abusive than a massacre in a movie theater?

My grandchildren love to go to the movies. They go with their parents, their grandparents, aunts, uncles,and friends.The word movie is on their radar screens along with ice cream, candy, lacrosse, presents, homework, the beach, and staying up late. One of them also loves Batman. And I suspect that similar facts are true about the children in your life.

Today I pulled out a book I bought shortly after 9/11: Terrorism and Kids: Comforting your Child by Fern Reiss, Peanut Butter and Jelly Press. A gem of a book - exceedingly practical, sensitive, and wise. Here is a listing of some of her recommendations, which certainly fit this situation:

*  Limit television and internet viewing

*  Limit your news viewing

*  Don't let your children listen alone

*  Show your feelings about what's happened and let them show theirs

*  Give them reassurance about their safety

*  Talk to your children at their level and let them talk to you

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

*  Don' t lie to them

*  Convey a sense of hope

*  Be patient

*  Be alert for overly detailed fears

Your child will likely have many questions, beginning with what happened and why. Young children need simple explanations, whereas teenagers may want to discuss details and will likely have more complex, sophisticated questions. Young children will benefit from playing, drawing, coloring, and writing. Make sure there are supplies on hand for them, and be attentive to what they may be acting out in their play. Teenagers will also benefit from these avenues of self expression though they may gravitate more to writing poetry, journaling or writing songs. And remember that children of all ages may need extra hugs or words of encouragement along the way.

I received a Tweet from the MsFoundation last week that said, "It takes a community to prevent child abuse." I think it takes a community to overcome child abuse, too. Hopefully, these ideas will help you to help your child and other children you may know, so that they'll be protected from needless worry and stress; so that they can learn important lessons about how to weather disaster in life; so that you can nourish their capacity for resiliency and your own.

__________________________________________________________________________________

This blog is dedicated as prayer for the children in Aurora, Colorado and surrounding areas.

 

Catherine McCall is a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the author of Never Tell: A True Story of Overcoming a Terrifying Childhood.

more...

Subscribe to Overcoming Child Abuse

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?