When your child is the victim of a dog attack in Minnesota, you may worry that his or her perceptions of canines will never be the same. Helping your child through the psychological healing process will take time and commitment.
Knowing some of the strategies for supporting your child and helping to rebuild confidence may make a difference in his or her long-term healing. Proactive intervention may also prevent the formation of irrational fears.
Listen and process
The starting point for your child’s healing is understanding. Justifiably, your child may feel confused, scared, resentful and angry among other emotions. Your job as a parent is to listen and help your child understand and process the events that transpired. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, your child may make a faster recovery with an adequate support system.
In addition to familial support, your child may benefit from counseling or therapy. A professional can address fears and concerns in an objective and rational manner. This approach may help your child to learn valuable coping skills that can make an instrumental difference in his or her ability to deal with triggers.
Educate and communicate
Education and knowing what to expect can help anyone to feel more confident going into a new situation. As your child continues to recover, have discussions about pet safety and how to behave around dogs. Remind your child to practice caution around new dogs, especially strays. Provide instruction about appropriate reactions if a dog begins to show signs of agitation.
If you have family or friends with dogs, it might not hurt to inform them of your child’s situation if you plan to visit. Your willingness to advocate for your child and express his or her concerns can help everyone respond with patience and understanding to a potentially sensitive situation.