Letter of Blessing for Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused
By Sheryl Overby, MS LIMHP Woodhaven Counseling 402-592-0328
All children seek verbal or non-verbal feedback from the adults in their life to understand what has happened to them. A caregiver can provide encouragement, hope and a vision of a positive future for youth who have been sexually abused. I believe that putting these thoughts in writing makes it more sincere to the child and enables the youth the opportunity to re-read the information whenever needed.
Here are some ideas about what to include in a letter to your child:
- Reminders that you do not blame them for any of the abusive events, even if your child feels partially responsible.
- The progress your child as made so far; what are you proud of?
- Praise and encouragement for effort and attendance, “it has been hard, it will be hard, but I/We can handle it”.
- Talk about the future in a positive way, including your hopes and dreams for your child. For example, think of the coin, “I, you, we will be OK”
- Statements that model the appropriate reaction to learning about the sexual abuse, and apologize if your earlier reaction was not what you wanted it to be.
- You believe your child was sexually abused (even if some of the details may not be 100% correct). It is OK to acknowledge that the abuse has been a “really really bad thing”.
- You will support your child no matter what. Please give a concrete example of how you will be supportive, such as:
- Attending and paying for trauma focused therapy (without complaining).
- Having empathy for them; try to understand your child’s thoughts and feelings, even if your child hasn’t worked through all the trauma yet.
- Showing love and caring by listening to them, or leaving them alone, etc.
- Changing things in the home environment to encourage sexual respect and reduce triggers/reminders.
- Having hope that they will achieve healing, even when therapy is difficult, even if they don’t like it or want to quit.
- You will be resilient and handle the adult stresses in life, including your own feelings about the abuse or managing the court system or your budget, etc.
- You will protect your child from any future harm to the best of your ability. (This does not mean your child will always be happy, since they will still have chores, homework, etc.)
Thank you so much for doing all you can to help in your child’s healing process.