Parenting advice

Parenting challengesSexual assault survivors who are now parents are likely to be hyper-vigilant, wanting to know everything about what and where their children are spending time and being adamant about preparing them for the worst. And as they become teens, the rebellious years, these kids will start pushing against this protective shell.

This can be both terrifying and embarrassing. Terrifying because they seem to be ignoring or wandering closer to the dangers you know too well and embarrassing because they will notice the difference in your parenting style compared with their friends’ parents.

So how can you work through it? First of all, don’t compare yourself to others and know that everyone’s journey is unique. Perhaps your son/daughter is close to the age at which you had been violated. Your hyper vigilance is a protective mechanism based on your fine-tuned skill set developed from your own abuse experience. It provides an increased level of awareness of what places, activities, behaviors, etc. may not be safe. My daughter used to give me a bad time about my awareness but I would much rather be like that than to risk being vulnerable and be out of touch.

Even though you have PTSD it does not have to consume you. Once you learn how to quiet your internal process by whatever works for you. This could be meditation, exercise, prayer, social support, therapy, medication, etc. Perhaps you have reason to be concerned about the safety of your son/daughter so look around your home and see what needs to be changed so you feel more calm and secure in your environment.

Don’t lose hope. With or without PTSD, parenting is a journey. There will be good days and some not so good days. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Just knowing what it is that is making you feel so concerned about your son/daughter is a huge step in the right direction. Don’t beat yourself up and remember to celebrate your successes. Being that you can tolerate being exposed to a situation for a little bit longer than last time is considered a success.


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