Research has shown that parents can feel emotional and psychological distress after a child discloses their abuse. You may even experience what is called secondary trauma, which means that you are going through something very similar to your child. With these intense emotions, it may be difficult to find a healthy outlet for them, but keep in mind: your child is looking at your example. They are watching the way that you’re handling everything and they will emulate what you’re doing. This may feel a bit overwhelming, but you have the opportunity to show your child how to experience those feelings without letting the emotion control your response.
One way to make dealing with your emotions a topic of conversation is to introduce your child to this emotion wheel. It’s a great opportunity for you to check in with yourself to put a word (or words) to what you are feeling and talk about how you’ll deal with those feelings in a healthy way. As someone who is taking on a great emotional weight in helping your child get the help that they need during a highly stressful time, be sure to take time for yourself and practice self-care. This may include practicing mindfulness, using grounding techniques when overly stressed, or using writing and art as a way to express emotion and work through feelings. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure that you are taking care of your own emotional needs so that you will be better able to take care of your child’s.
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