When a negative event influences our lives, it can be extremely difficult to continue life as usual. But when these experiences happen to our children, the lack of control over their emotional experience can become overwhelmingly stressful and worrying. However, negative experiences are part of everybody’s lives, and there are some very useful steps you can take towards being as supportive as possible when your child is in a difficult situation. As soon as you accept the situation, you will be able to begin the journey of recovery with your son or daughter.
Understanding the Signs
Children do not respond to distressing events in the same way thatadults do. Therefore, some of their behavior may seem confusing but could be symptomatic of childhood trauma, which includes:
• Reverting to early childhood behaviors
• Complaints of physical problems
• Develop unfounded fears
• Increased aggression
• Avoidance of feelings
As such, be cognizant of your children’s unique way of expressing their pain, and how best to respond to it.
Create a Safe Space
Although the distressing event that your child is experiencing is not something that you can control, you are able to create and encourage open communication between your family and thechild. There are a variety of ways that you can create a safe space for your child after a traumatic event. Begin by encouraging them with open-ended questions that do not demand an answer, do not judge any of the reflections of their experience, and it goes without saying that physical signs of affection are as powerful as words.
Ask for Support
When a traumatic event occurs, it can be easy to shift into protective overdrive, as a parent will always see negative elements in their child’s life as a reflection of their parenting, even if they know that this event was out of their control. It is important to resist trying to take on all the stress of your child’s problem and to ask for support from family and friends when you are feeling strained by the incident. Remember to continue your usual routinetoo – this includes social engagements and hobbies.
Assess Whether to Claim Compensation
Although emotional support is imperative to the recovery of your child, if any element of this harmful experience was not their fault, then your child is legally entitled to compensation. It is then the responsibility of the parent or guardian to take action in relation to personal injury claims on behalf of their child. There are many incidents that can be compensated for, these include:
• Hotel accidents
• Road traffic accidents (including during a bus journey)
• Dog bites
• Horse riding injuries
• Injuries at a supermarket or swimming pool
Regardless of the type of distressing experience that your child has been through, there are some key ways that you can support them towards a happy and healthy recovery after this difficult time. It is always important to remember that there are no right or wrong ways to achieve recovery - but if you remain open-minded and responsible, you’ll be sure to help your child recover fully.