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Sanford Health Dakota Children's Advocacy Center:
Taking care of yourself and your child
Children often express their feelings through their actions rather than with words. If your childís actions or behaviors change, your child may need your help with talking about his or her feelings. As a parent, you need to respect your childís feelings. These feelings are normal for them. Your child needs to hear that it is good to talk about safety and about appropriate touch. Communicate to your child that you are interested in hearing his or her questions and concerns. Inform your child that it is OK to talk to another safe, trusted adult. It may be uncomfortable for him or her to speak to you about things that are embarrassing, painful or personal. You may want to communicate to your child that he or she is safe now and that you will try to protect him or her. Your support is very important for your childís emotional wellbeing, healing and recovery.
Provide your child with safety, love and support. Let him or her know it is OK to cry or be mad. Make sure your child understands it is not his or her fault. Donít coach or pressure your child to talk about things.Some things you can say that can really help your child:
Many children need ongoing treatment and support to reduce the emotional impact of abuse. therapy is a safe place for children to express themselves through their words, art or play to help them heal. A specialized trauma-focused child therapist can apply special training in child abuse or trauma to help workthrough thoughts and feelings. It will help the child restore his or her emotional health and provide tools for the family to recover as quickly as possible.
If your child is in need of therapy services please contact the Sanford Health Dakota Childrenís Advocacy Center at( 70) 323-5626.
As a parent or caregiver, you wonít always be able to protect your child from harm. You should find a constructive way to express your own feelings about what happened to your child. You may wish to seek out other adults who will listen, or find a counseling resource for yourself. It is important for you to be able to express your feelings without confusing or frightening your child. It is fine for you to express your anger about what happened, while still letting your child know that you are not angry with or blaming him or her. Dealing effectively with your own feelings will allow you to take care of your child and give him or her the support he or she needs. This can be a very difficult time, and you may probably feel pressured from many directions. Although you are trying to take care of a lot of other people, you also need to take care of yourself. Your wellbeing is very important, so you need to find time to do something just for you and plan to do it regularly. Scheduling your own time and space will help you gain or regain a sense of your own identity. Take the time to nurture yourself.
Many parents and caregivers need ongoing treatment and support to reduce the emotional impact of abuse. Therapy is a safe place for parents and caregivers to express themselves to help them heal. A specialized trauma-focused therapist can apply special training in trauma to help work through thoughts and feelings. It will help the parent or caregiver restore his or her emotional health and provide tools for the family to recover as quickly as possible.
If you are in need of therapy services please contact the Sanford Health Dakota Childrenís Advocacy Center at (701) 323-5626.
Common myths about child sexual abuse
Children who have a normal medical exam were not sexually abused.
Children make these types of things up for attention.
Only female children are abused.
You will be able to tell if your child has been sexually abused.
All children who have been sexually abused will become abusers in the future.
Children will tell someone when they have been abused.
Children are always angry with the abuser.
A child who has been sexually abused once will not let it happen again.
Gentle sexual activities that arenít forced or donít involve penetration will not harm the child.
Sexual assault by a stranger is more traumatic than sexual abuse by a known adult.
All sexual offenders are men.
If an alleged offender insists he or she did not abuse the child, the child must be lying.
Men who sexually abuse children do not have relationships with women.
You can tell if a person would molest a child by their personality or their appearance.
People who sexually abuse children do so only to achieve sexual pleasure.