Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Child Was Assaulted...Now what?


Dear Anne,
My daughter recently disclosed that she was sexually abused by a family acquaintance.  We have already met with both the department of human resources and the police.  At this point I am really struggling with what to do.  I feel horrible that my daughter has gone through this but I don’t know how to respond to her.  My husband says I am babying her too much but my mother says that I need to baby her more.  I just don’t know what to do or say?
-Hurting Mom-


Dear Hurting Mom,
I am sorry that your child and your family have experienced this trauma.  After ensuring safety, one of the most important things you can do when a child discloses sexual abuse is to support them by letting them know you believe them and that they did the right thing when they told you what happened.    Stay as calm as possible and listen when the child wants to talk about the abuse.  Don’t ask questions; leave the investigating to the authorities.  Just listen and support. 
It is also very important to get back to a “normal” routine as soon as possible.  What was normal before the disclosure, such as rules, routine, and discipline, need to be the same following the disclosure.  Structure and routine provide a feeling of safety for children.
Your child may have times when she is more emotional.  That is ok.  Let her know that it is ok to be sad, mad, or have any other feeling she is having. You also may be more emotional as you work through this.  Acknowledge those feelings.
It may be helpful to seek professional help from a counselor that specializes in working with families and children who have experienced traumatic events.  

*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.
If you have a question you would like to ask, EMAIL US: askanne@abchome.org or leave a comment. We would love to answer one of your questions.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review: "A Terrible Thing Happened"


In line with our social media focus of "Wounded Heart: A Look at Sexual Abuse", we will be reviewing Margaret M. Holmes' "A Terrible Thing Happened". This book review was written by one of our therapist - Kristin Lowrey. Before coming to Pathways, Kristin worked at Children's Hospital with children who has been abused and so she is very knowledgeable on this topic. If you would like to read more about her, click here

Synopsis:

"A Terrible Thing Happened" is a children’s book by Margaret M. Holmes that tells the story of a young Raccoon, Sherman, who witnessed something terrible.  Initially he tries not to think about the terrible thing, but soon it starts to bother him.  He then experiences anxiety, bad dreams, anger and many other symptoms.  He starts to meet with Ms. Maple who helps him sort out his feels and begin to work through the trauma. 

Purpose:

The book is written and illustrated in a way to appeal to young children, preschoolers and up, who have experienced or witnessed some kind of trauma.  It normalizes feelings that could result from trauma and helps to explain how suppressing feelings can lead to so many problems including acting out behaviors.   At the end of the book there is a parent/caregiver guide that gives suggestions on how to work with a child following a traumatic event. 

Potential Uses: 

This book could be a wonderful resource for either a family or a professional.  It is a great tool to use to open up communication with children about the internal aftermath of trauma that is often hard for them to understand.  

*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.
If you have a question you would like to ask, EMAIL US: askanne@abchome.org or leave a comment. We would love to answer one of your questions.