- Stay close to your child immediately following disclosure and provide an extra sense of physical security.
- Give your child opportunities and permission to express feelings about the abuse as they come up.
- Try not to "talk the abuse into going away". Be a good listener but try not to pry beyond what is necessary to understand what happened. Professionals will have to ask your child for the details of the abuse. Continual probing questions may add to your child’s embarrassment or sense of shame and may become a means of getting attention.
- Respect your child's privacy in deciding whom to tell and do not repeat the story to others in the presence of your child.
- Permit your child to have positive as well as negative feelings. Your child may have good feelings about the abuser, who may be regarded as a friend, even though he or she did some confusing, uncomfortable or hurtful things to your child. Allowing your child to express whatever he or she is feeling without getting a negative reaction can spare your child additional guilt about these feelings. Remember: We can like a person and hate their actions.
- Try to make every effort to help your child and the family return to the normal routines. If your child feels that the abuse has caused disruption of the entire family pattern, it may take on larger traumatic proportions.
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