Helping Your Child Heal

What to Do if Your Child Tells You More About the Abuse

  • Listen to what they are telling you.
  • Remain calm.
  • Let your child tell you: DO not repeatedly ask your child about the abuse.
  • Do not punish them, it is not the child's fault.
  • Be supportive, but don't put words in their mouth.
  • Write down what they tell you and notify your social worker and detective.
  • Reassure your child and thank them for telling you.
Talking about abuse is very hard. Do not allow your own feelings to get in the way of future communication with your child. A child's recovery often depends on the level of support they receive. Parents can help their child rebuild self-esteem by explaining to the child:
  • They are not at fault
  • Sometimes bad things happen to good kids.
  • They are loved and cared about by many people.

What to Say

It's okay to be upset. Reassure your child, "I'm sad and angry this happened, but I am not angry with you."

It's important to reassure your child they did the right thing in telling someone about the abuse. It's okay to say, "I was upset when I heard you were hurt. I want to be sure you know I believe you. I am sorry this happened. It's not your fault. I am going to do the best I can for you.

Sometimes parents hesitate before responding to their child, which can be confusing. You may explain your hesitation by saying, "I'm sorry I didn't act faster. I was confused and I didn't know what to do. I believe you."

Parents Self Care

It's important for parents to take care of themselves, both emotionally and physically. Do not hesitate to seek professional support.

Common Emotions Parents Experience

  • Anger
  • Blaming a spouse or significant other
  • Confusion
  • Denial
  • Depression
  • Disbelief
  • Dismay
  • Fatigue
  • Fear
  • Feeling alone
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Guilt
  • Sense of failure
  • Shock