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.

July 7, 2010

Pam's Parenting Tip of the Month

How to Help an Anxious or Stressed-Out Child

How often have you said to your child, "You need to calm down!" How often have you given that same child a suggestion on how to calm down? Self-calming doesn't come naturally to children. It needs to be taught.

Purchase a pump bottle of lavender scented hand and body cream. Lavender has a soothing, relaxing quality. Make a label for it that reads "Calming Cream."


When you find your child is feeling anxious or stressed put a small amount into your hands and rub it into your child's hands, arms and legs. It not only serves as a distraction from whatever is going on in the moment it's also a nurturing gesture. "Calming Cream" can even become a part of your child's bedtime routine to encourage relaxation.

Keep the bottle of "Calming Cream" in a handy location and over time your child will learn to use it when feeling the need to self-soothe. Your child might even become like Austin who, upon seeing his mother looking harried at the end of a busy day, said, "Mom! You want me to rub your hands with some calming cream?"