To help a child recover from abuse, you can help them to build resilience.
Resilience is the ability to adapt, cope and manage difficult circumstances, or even thrive in the face of challenges. The more resilient we are, the more able we are to adapt to adverse life situations. While children who face sexual abuse or other adverse childhood experiences are more likely to face negative outcomes, this is not always the case. By providing a safe and loving environment, the child’s parents, carers and family can boost the child’s healing, mental wellbeing, and through it, the child’s ability to face difficulty through their lives.
As a parent or caregiver to a child who has experienced abuse, you can help them build resilience by:
- validating their feelings and acknowledging that they feel sad, scared or angry,
- giving them lots of love, support and positive feedback,
- helping them to build confidence and self-esteem by finding an activity they can enjoy,
- encouraging them to talk about how they feel,
- trying to maintain routine and normality where possible,
- helping them to form bonds with other trusted family members and friends,
- helping them to set goals they set for themselves.