For Parents and Caregivers
Take care of yourself with these 5 actions
Learning that a child has been abused or has offended is a time of trauma for protective parents and caregivers who have specific needs of their own. Often the needs of the protective parent are neglected by other supportive adults and professionals. It is a time when they can feel alone and isolated. It’s important to get support for yourself to help you cope with the emotions, challenges and decisions you are facing. The better you are able to cope, the stronger your ability to provide effective parenting for your child.
There are things you can do, places to get help and people to reach out to. It may take time, but families who have been impacted by child sexual abuse can recover and move forward.
- If you have someone to turn to such as a friend or family member, let them know you need their support.
- Seek out a therapist, counselor , social worker, family therapist or clergy member with whom you can express your feelings and discuss the decisions and issues you are facing. You can ask for a referral from your doctor, search for a therapist by contacting your health insurance company, or use an online directory such as the one offered by the American Psychological Association.
- If your child has a therapist or counselor, speak with them.
- Join a parents’ support group. To find a parent support group, contact local therapists or agencies that work with children who have been sexually abused or who have sexual behavior problems. Some therapists and agencies offer support to parents or family members in addition to treating children. See our Resources to Find Specialized Therapy list to find organizations that can help you locate specialized therapists and clinics.
- Look into online support. One online forum for parents of children who have been sexually abused is offered on sites such as Parents Support for Child Sexual Abuse: Parents Helping Parents.