When a child tells a parent that they have been sexually harassed, it can be a rather alarming feeling for the parent. As a parent, we always want to protect our children, every second. But, we come to realize that we can’t always be with them every second of the day; especially when they go to school. Although at school we expect our children to be protected by teachers, administrators, and other staff members, things can still happen. While 99% of these staff members try their best to keep our kids safe, it is impossible to watch every student at every moment. So, if in the case your child tells you that they have been sexually harassed, here are a few tips to help both you and your child:
- LISTEN first, without saying anything.
While it is your first parental instinct to ask a lot of questions when your child tells you something like this, give them some space. Let them tell you the entire story first, without interrupting them. If you try to interrupt them, they may feel like they don’t want to continue talking to you about it. Make sure to also listen carefully, and focus on the details; it will save you from asking your child multiple questions later.
- ATTEMPT to stay as CALM, as POSSIBLE.
As much as you would like to lose your mind and be angry with the individual that harassed your child, (it’s natural!!) you have to focus on being there for them. I completely understand that you want to be angry and upset. However, it will just further upset your child. It’s okay to be angry, but just make sure your child doesn’t see that side of you.
- SUPPORT and be there for your child as much as you can.
The most important part of this process, is to be there for your child. This can truly take quite a toll on them emotionally, so make sure you continuously check in on them. Sometimes, they will try to hide how they feel, so it’s important to keep tabs on that. Some signs that they may have been harassed, but haven’t told you, are: change in mood, being more quiet than usual, sudden change in eating habits, and the one that’s more common is slipping grades, and loss of focus at school.