While none of us prepares to deal with a traumatic event, establishing open lines of communication with your child prior to any life-changing incident will help you navigate anything life throws at your family in a more positive way. While we are all busy, take time each day to connect with your child. Talk to them about school and friends. At bedtime, ask them to tell you about one funny thing that happened to them that day. When they do talk to you, even if it’s a story you’ve heard a thousand times, actively listen, and show that what they say matters to you.
By establishing a pattern of talking to your child and listening to them, you will be one step ahead when it comes to having difficult conversations with your child. They also will be more likely to approach you if something bad does happen to them, which is critically important as they enter their teen years.
If you are working through a traumatic event, make sure your child knows you are there for them and that they can come to you when they are ready to talk. Check in with them frequently. Guide your child towards finding solutions or coping strategies, depending on the situation.