Your response to the disclosure of the child about the abuse is very crucial in the outcome. It can be a terrible experience; especially if you are the mother who is hearing her child tell that someone has abused or hurt them. The child has gone through lot of emotional turmoil to bring this up with you, so handle it very carefully. Please do not panic, as that will scare the child into silence. Be calm and sit someplace where you are face to face with the child. Do not react with disgust or convey the message in any way that you do not believe the child. Just listen to the child keeping calm and assuring the child that it is going to be all right soon. Please do not lie about your intentions, as the child will face the pain of betrayal once again.
Avoid the following when the child is trying to tell you something:
- Continue with the task at hand like cooking, watching TV or reading a book when half listening to the child
- Ask too many questions or interrogate the child
- Scare the child by getting angry or ask questions like ‘What were you doing there?’ ‘Why did you go there?’ ‘Why didn't you tell this to me earlier?’
- Show your disgust, anger, fear or panic in open
- Convey to the child that the alleged abuser is a nice person who could never do something like this
- Make the child feel it is their own fault that this happened. Many children will think that the abuse happened because of something they did or did not do, therefore avoid fuel to the fire.
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