Emotional Safety Planning with Children

Children who experience abusive situations are forced to process complex emotions, often without being equipped to do so in healthy ways. Creating an emotional safety plan for and alongside your children can help them navigate these emotions and prepare them to respond to moments of crisis in ways that protect their short-term and long-term emotional wellbeing.

  • Make sure your safety planning is age-appropriate. A safety plan will look differently for a younger child than it would for a teen, but your love and support will look the same.
  • Let your children know that what’s happening isn’t their fault and that they didn’t cause it. Tell them that you support them no matter what.
  • Tell them that abuse is never right, even when the person being violent is someone they love.
  • Tell them that you want everyone to be safe, so you have to come up with a plan to use in case of emergencies.
  • Remember that your child might tell your partner whatever information you come up with together, which could make an abusive situation more dangerous. When talking about safety plans, use phrases like, “We’re practicing what to do in an emergency,” instead of, “We’re planning what you can do when ____ becomes violent.”
  • Help them make a list of people they’re comfortable talking with and expressing themselves to, and make sure they can contact those people if needed.
  • If possible, enroll them in a counseling program or therapy. Try to find a program that is culturally relevant and specialized in child counseling. If you ever need resources, our Advocates can help find support in your area.

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