How To Help Your Child Heal After Trauma
It takes hard work, persistence, and dedication to move you and your children toward healing. If you build the strength within yourself and find the right tools you need to nurture your child, you will be one step ahead in the healing process.
When children experience trauma, you need to take two steps back and one step forward to build trust and understanding. Always check on them, but never pressure them when discussing something that matters to them. Let your child make decisions on his or her own. With the right care they will open up again!
Begin The Healing Process With These 7 Steps!
- Nurture Your Children
When trauma occurs, your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression are absorbed by your children. Your words and actions as a parent affect their healing. You may be feeling frustrated, angry and sad. It is perfectly fine to feel this way. But, remember that after trauma occurs, children are extremely sensitive. Choose your words carefully and be compassionate.
- Make Time For Your Kids
Spend time with your children. In the beginning this may mean sitting with them for periods of time in silence. That is perfectly okay because your presence may be all they need at the moment. Comfort them when they cry. Ask them what they need and try to provide it.
- Give Your Children Space
A child’s whole world is turned upside down when he or she experiences a trauma. Depending on their age, your children may need time alone to begin their healing. This is common with children 8 years and older. If your child is spending long periods of time alone in his room, give him some space but check on him frequently.
- Make A Commitment to Help Your Children Heal
This is a crucial time when you must put your children first. Make a decision to get your children the help that they need. Make an appointment for your children to see a therapist and stick to the therapy schedule. The sooner you get your children help; they faster healing can take place. Therapy is also essential for you so that you have an outlet to process your feelings.
- Be Flexible and Willing to Adjust Your Parenting Style
You may need to adjust how you used to parent prior to the trauma. As your child changes, you’ll gradually have to change your parenting style. Chances are what worked before will not work now. You will be parenting children who are most likely scared, angry and fearful of new experiences.
- Show That Your Love Is Unconditional
Let your children know that no matter what has happened that you love them unconditionally and you are willing to help them heal. They may reject this at first, but believe me, they hear you.
- Know Your Own Needs and Limitations as a Parent
Face it — you are an imperfect parent. We all are! You have strengths and weaknesses as a family leader. Recognize your abilities — “I am loving and dedicated.” Vow to work on your weaknesses — “I don’t have to have all the answers.” Most importantly, be forgiving of yourself when you have a breakdown – because you will. What matters most is that you get up again and keep fighting to get through.
Focusing on your needs does not make you selfish. It simply means you care about your own well-being, which is another important value to model for your children. And just as they say on every airline flight…”Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others,” you need to get yourself on the path to healing so that you will be better able to help your children heal and move forward.
Dr. Sue Cornbluth is a nationally recognized parenting expert in high conflict parenting situations. She is a regular mental health contributor for an array of networks and television shows such as NBC, FOX and CBS. Dr. Sue has also contributed to several national publications. Her new best-selling book, Building Self Esteem in Children and Teens Who Are Adopted or Fostered is available now. To find out more about her work, please visit Dr. Sue’s website.