|Responding to Child Trauma|
Parents, caregivers, and family members are the most important sources of help and reassurance when children experience violence and trauma in their homes and neighborhoods. Parents and other trusted adults can help children with their feelings and concerns. It is important to acknowledge and help your children understand their feelings, especially as they struggle with scary or upsetting feelings. You can also help them know what will happen to them next by answering common questions, such as where they will stay, or who will watch them. Children and families may also need to consider a safety plan to help address potential future threats to family safety.
Adults who seek needed help set a good example for children that it is acceptable and appropriate to reach out, and that no one should have to cope alone. You can be helpful to your child when you express your own feelings as calmly as possible, without aggression and without expecting the child to act as your support.
For Friends and Others Who Care
Children and families impacted by violence and trauma need support from their friends and others in their community. Co-workers, school teachers, fellow church members, and family friends can each provide some level of support for these families. It is common for friends to wait for families impacted by violence to speak up about needing support, but this is not a requirement for support to be provided. It is important to recognize the sensitive nature of what has happened while also offering tangible types of support such as meals, help with everyday chores, and outings to help family members cope with the impact of negative life events. It can often be helpful to set up ground rules about what is OK and not OK to talk about with the family so that they recognize that you are available to talk, but that they have some control over what they share.
Parents, caregivers, and family members are the most important sources of help and reassurance when children experience violence and trauma.