Exposure to violence is difficult to deal with at any age but is especially devastating for children. On top of that, young victims don’t always have access to the proper resources to help them process and move forward after violence touches their lives.
Whether you are a parent, family member, social worker, or foster parent, it can be very difficult to help and support a child you care deeply for process what he or she has experienced. Most of us would give everything we have to take that kind of pain and knowledge away from an innocent child. While that is not always possible, there are things you can do to help.
More often than not, the child will lead, if you let them, in your efforts to offer comfort. There are some pains you can never take away, but providing an ear, a shoulder, and a calming presence in their life is often a large step towards a child recovering from violence.
When the world feels like it’s spinning out of control for children, they need honest and dependable touchstones. Don’t make promises you can’t keep and don’t try to protect them with lies. It is best to offer honest answers to their questions and concerns than allow them to be hurt later by your efforts to shield them. Seek balance between answering honestly, though, and telling them more than they need to know.
Build Coping Mechanisms
You may not be able to eliminate the pain for a child exposed to violence, but you can give them the tools they need to carry on. These can be tools that help children manage stress and focus their energy and emotions into productive or creative pursuits. These include a variety of things, such as:
- Breathing exercises
- Pet therapy
- Art classes
It may take a while to find the right fit for him or her, but investing that energy and effort is time and money well spent. Sometimes, despite your best efforts and attention, you alone are not enough to help a child recover from his or her exposure to violence. When this is the case, it is important to seek assistance from community programs and other resources to help the child through this difficult time. In Vanderburgh County, there are resources available to help children sort through their emotions and find their footing after this exposure to violence. Vanderburgh County Crime Victims Resources is your first stop to seek area resources for your child’s needs.