Parent whose children were abused needs support.


Dear Stop It Now!,

Are there any support groups out there for parents where you have face-to-face meetings, similar to AA or NA? I have a lot of issues to work out for my children who were possibly sexually abused. Sometimes the people I am closest to are indifferent. Other friends will come up with so many wonderful solutions and, though I don't want to be a "yes, but" kind of person, there are a lot of those that are a reality. Then I find myself avoiding this friend because I couldn't follow their suggestions. So if there is a support group out there, I'd love to know. I am still protective but I am exhausted.  

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Dear Protective Parent,

Speaking up and taking action for your children can be hard on any parent. It’s good that you’re talking about this to those who care about you so that you don’t have to do this alone. There are so many Possible Reactions of Caring Adults and I’m so sorry that some of the people you’re closest to aren’t responding to your concerns in a supportive way, but I’m glad that you’re continuing to reach out for help.

Finding Parent Support
Finding Support For Yourself After Abuse is Disclosed or suspected is so important. I’m unsure whether you’re looking for group support for your children or for yourself. However, I encourage you to reach out to these resources for Healing and Support for Children and Parents for help finding local support groups. Organizations that help children recover from child sexual abuse, as well as individual professional counselors who work with these children, may host or know of groups that could offer support for children or parents in your area.

While they may not be in-person support, our resources for Parents of Survivors also include several online support groups and message boards that may also serve the same function as an in-person meeting. These are typically led by other parents of survivors, not by professionals, but it may be helpful for you to hear from other parents about their experiences getting help for their children and how they were able to find the strength and courage they needed to take those next steps.

Talking To Friends
Even though it’s great that some of your friends have been able to offer so many suggestions, it’s also understandable that you may be feeling overwhelmed right now. I understand how hard it may be to go back to this friend when you haven’t taken their advice; maybe you’re worried about how they’ll react, or maybe you feel badly for not having followed their suggestions.  It can be hard for someone not involved to understand a situation exactly and even though they may be trying to help, even the most helpful advice may not always be feasible.

Consider letting these friends know how much their guidance and support has meant to you while offering suggestions for ways they can support you that you know might be helpful to you. Maybe you can ask them to watch your children while you go to a meeting or seek your own professional support. Or maybe you can let them know that while you value their advice on what steps to take, you’re already taking steps for safety and could benefit most just from their friendship right now. Sometimes even just sharing a positive experience like a movie or a meal can give you a much-needed break from this very stressful situation.

Individual Support
I also encourage you to seek out your own individual support while you take these steps for your children. A professional counselor can support you in the steps you’re already taking and help you communicate with friends and family. They can give you a space to talk about your own needs and feelings without making you feel pressured to respond in a certain way for the sake of theirs.

I hope this information helps you find the support you deserve as you work so hard to help your children heal.

Take care,
Stop It Now! 


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Last edited on: November 9th, 2018