Repeated trauma (e.g., sexual abuse, domestic violence, severe neglect) is difficult for both parents and children. Some children are better at coping with severe trauma than other children. Everyone has their own unique way of responding and recovering from traumatic experiences. As a parent, the main goal is to allow your child to start the recovery process as soon as possible.
The first step in helping your child, is for you to take care of yourself. As you become more healthy, you will be better able to help your child. If you are in an abusive relationship, get out. It is easier than most people think if you go to a battered women's shelter. DO NOT DELAY! Let other people help you and your family get well. If you live with an alcoholic or an addict, get your family help. If you have emotional problems, first start working on these problems and then begin to help your child.
The next step is to insure that your home environment is as stress free as possible. This is often difficult because of the "acting out" behaviors of the children. However, every effort must be done to provide a stable, secure, structured, and nurturing home environment for your children. Children can overcome most any type of abuse with therapy, time and a stable, structured, and nurturing environment. Even severely physically abused children will raise their IQ scores and overcome their behavioral problems if provided this type of environment.
While you are taking care of yourself and providing an optimum environment for growth and development, here are some additional guidelines to help your child:
There are many resources that are available to help you and your child. Seek them out. Some churches have good programs, and community mental health services provide cost effective treatments that help the entire family recover from traumatic experiences. If we can be further of assistance to you, please use the resources at The Family Clinic on the internet. Additional comments or questions can be reached to us by E-mail.