What can you do?
- Ask about how they’re feeling, and try to really listen and understand them
- Allow them to share whatever types of feelings they have towards the abusive parent
- Let them know you believe them if they share something
- Let them know the abuse is not their fault or your own
- Let them know you love them and want to keep them safe
- Let them know the violence is not okay, but focus on the behaviors rather than on the character of the abusive person
- Acknowledge that it might be hard or scary for them, and that it’s okay to feel angry, sad, scared, etc.
- Accept that they may not be willing or able to talk about it right away
- Help them learn healthy ways of dealing with anger, fear and other emotions
- Help them get involved in things that boost their self-esteem and make them feel good about themselves
- Always act in a way that is non-threatening and non-violent with your kids
- Consider taking them to counseling or therapy if possible
- Maintain as much structure and routine with them as you can
- Create a safety plan with them and explain actions taken in direct relation to unsafe and unhealthy behaviors
Thank you to the Pamela Anderson Foundation for sponsoring this page.