Help your child recover from sex abuse.
Isha was shell-shocked to know that the tuition teacher had abused her eight-year-old son. How could that have gone unnoticed from her caring and watchful eye? "How do I handle this?" "How will the child live with this memory?"
Most parents react similarly. They find themselves helpless and unable to cope with the grief caused by a sex abuse incident. Here are tips for parents on ways to deal with a sexually abused child.
IMPACT ON YOU AS A PARENT
The first reaction of the parent of a sexually abused child is that of outright denial. Parents, who are secondary victims in any abuse case, tend to deny such an incident. At a later stage this denial gives way to anger, which they direct at themselves and the offender. But such overpowering feelings have to be controlled. Only a composed parent can help an abused child. A parent has to first accept the reality and then make a very concerted effort not to feel depressed about it.
BELIEVE IN THE CHILD
Even if the offender is a trusted family friend or a close neighbour or a relative, parents should not disbelieve a child when the latter narrates an experience of sexual abuse. Any doubt about the integrity of the child will shake the very foundation of your child's sense of right and wrong. Even if it is found that a child had given consent to the offender, parents have to empathize with a minor child. Parents have to extend full-fledged and unconditional support to the child after the unfortunate incident. Assure and reassure the child that you will keep the offender and his likes away in the future. Never let the child develop a deep sense of mistrust.
ALWAYS REMAIN IN CONTROL
Parents should never betray their feelings. Children tend to get affected by the vibes. Always look in control, even if you are shaken from within. A child, especially a sexually abused one, draws one's energies from supporting parents.
REMOVE THE BURDEN OF GUILT
Never interrogate the child as to why he or she was hiding the fact for so long. There is no point in adding to the child's feeling of guilt. For example, if your son feels depressed to join his old circle of friends, let him take his time. Tell him that he is as precious to you as he was before he was abused.
Parents tend to get very overprotective after the incident. This does not help. Stick to the normal caring behaviour and do not confuse the child with extraordinary concern. Work towards making the child self-reliant.
HELP THE CHILD TO EXPESS
Encourage your child to express his inner feelings, either in creative competitions or elocution. Discourage your child from brooding too long about it, or by relenlessly discussing it. But he should be given the chance to vent his feelings about the traumatic incident.
GET A PROFESSIONAL INVOLVED
Your child is bound to experience certain behavioural difficulties, which only a professional can handle. Get a professional at the earliest, before the child is derailed. Your child will also feel reassured that there is another adult to take charge and help you out in this situation. Professional counseling along with psychiatric help will also help you to deal with your own trauma.
You may also be interested in:
- The Indiaparenting Team