July 14, 2010

Psychological Effects After A Child Abduction

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Alisa Maier was safely returned home after being abducted by a stranger. It was an even bigger relief to learn she hadn't been physically harmed.

Children are resilient but even when children are recovered and reunited with their family the trauma does not necessarily end. There can be long-lasting effects psychological effects on the child such as anxiety, fear of being around strangers, nightmares, and even mistrust of familiar adults and family members. Some children may stop growing emotionally, socially and academically and regressive behaviors may appear.

Due to all the media attention psychological effects can extend beyond the victim and family to children and adults not even connected to the crime. Parents are fearful it could happen to their child and children may fear they too could be abducted. This fear and the emotional stress it brings on can stay with parents and children for long periods of time.

Pay attention to any changes in your child after such a trauma and be open to discussing your child's concerns. Validate any feelings they may have and reassure them that you will help keep them safe. If their fear escalates you may want to consult with a mental health professional.

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