Children who are victims of a dog attack can experience a wide range of emotional and psychological effects as a result of the trauma. While some effects are negative, some children may display notable positive changes too. Posttraumatic growth (PTG) refers to the positive transformation that occurs as a result of going through a traumatic event.
With proper guidance and care, children might learn to “process and make sense of the incident, alter cognitive distortions such as excessive guilt, and address life transitions and new meaning,” explains psychologist Dr. Talya Steinberg for Psychology Today. “The concept of gaining new meaning, or benefiting in some way from personal experiences with trauma, is called posttraumatic growth.”
Ways to Encourage PTG in Your Child
If your child was the victim of a dog attack, ensure you get him or her a psychological evaluation and counseling if recommended. Also keep an eye out for any developing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Emotional disorders can develop in the wake of a traumatic event, may co-exist with PTG, and can cause long-term damage if untreated.
There are five things you can do to encourage a positive response and PTG in your child, as adapted from Dr. Steinberg’s blog post.
1. Tell stories and read books based on resilient characters that overcome difficult situations.
2. Teach positive coping skills.
3. Seek support from qualified professionals and parent support groups. They can give you insight and ideas for helping you and your child cope with the incident in a more positive manner.
4. Offer praise when your child makes a positive coping statement or demonstrates a positive outlook after the attack.
5. Model a positive attitude. “Research shows that modeling a sense of psychological security, assuring love and protection…and educating children may help reduce distress and foster ‘post-traumatic growth,’” Dr. Steinberg explains.
Legal Counsel after Dog Attacks in Clarksburg
If your child was attacked by a dog and sustained serious injuries, call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg to discuss your case. Your family might be able to collect monetary compensation for your damages. Contact us today for a free legal consultation at 304-931-4088.