Dealing with traumatic experiences? — The Bump
Pre-School

Dealing with traumatic experiences?

How do you help your child deal with situations that are very upsetting to them? On Sunday I was walking my dogs on leash when my neighbor's two pit bulls ran out of their house and attacked my two mini schnauzers. By some miracle of God it happened to be raining right at that time and I decided for the first time ever to leave my kids inside alone while I walked the dogs in a grassy area nearby our condo. My DD did not witness the attack, but she did see the aftermath when I brought the dogs inside to clean up their wounds. There was a lot of blood and she wouldn't go to her room or leave my side. She was terrified and thought her dogs were going to die. I had a friend come over as soon as possible to take her while the dogs went to the vet. The dogs are fine now and their wounds were not too bad. But DD is really shaken up. She is crying all the time and won't sleep in her bed. How do I help her? Have any of your children experienced anything like this? Maybe a car accident that shook them up? TIA for any advice or insight you have.
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Re: Dealing with traumatic experiences?

  • I don't have any advice, but wanted to say that I'm sorry about that situation...it IS very upsetting!
  • imageghcc:
    I don't have any advice, but wanted to say that I'm sorry about that situation...it IS very upsetting!
    Thank you for your kind words.
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  • i'm sorry, i dont have any experience, other than to talk openly about it.  but perhaps ask your children's librarian for book suggestions?  not sure there would be something so specific as a dog attack, but definitely things about dealing with traumatic experiences that you could relate back to yours. 

    good luck, i hope the dogs are ok and that your LOs feel better about it soon.

  • Was she clingy to you? to the dogs? has she developed a fear of other dogs now?

    I am so sorry that this happened to you and your dogs. and glad she didn't see it in person. I am glad to hear that they are doing good and will recover.

    I would just be open with her. Ask her if she has any questions? answer them as honestly as you know what she can handle. Let her know that this doesn't happen all the time. That not all dogs are bad but some are so you have to be cautious and don't pet animals you don't know.  Other than that just let her love on the dogs and she will just probably need some time to come around.

    I hope you are ok too. I know i would have been shooken up.

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  • imageWiggleBaby:

    i'm sorry, i dont have any experience, other than to talk openly about it.  but perhaps ask your children's librarian for book suggestions?  not sure there would be something so specific as a dog attack, but definitely things about dealing with traumatic experiences that you could relate back to yours. 

    good luck, i hope the dogs are ok and that your LOs feel better about it soon.

    Thanks for this suggestion. I know that Veggie Tales has a movie about being scared and I'm sure there are books about how other kids have dealt with fear. Maybe reading about other experiences will help give her words to deal with her own emotions.
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  • imageLoriLee14:

    Was she clingy to you? to the dogs? has she developed a fear of other dogs now?

    I am so sorry that this happened to you and your dogs. and glad she didn't see it in person. I am glad to hear that they are doing good and will recover.

    I would just be open with her. Ask her if she has any questions? answer them as honestly as you know what she can handle. Let her know that this doesn't happen all the time. That not all dogs are bad but some are so you have to be cautious and don't pet animals you don't know.  Other than that just let her love on the dogs and she will just probably need some time to come around.

    I hope you are ok too. I know i would have been shooken up.

    She's been very clingy with DH and I. The hardest part is that she is freaking out about random things unrelated to the dog attack. It is like she is just wound up tight and anything can set her off. All week long she's cried a lot after school about the most insignificant things. She's had melt down after melt down at school. Yesterday there was a friendly dog at school and she was playing with it but after that was over she freaked out about something else. The crying lasted a long time and when I came to see her the first thing she told me was that there was a nice dog but when it sniffed her hand it made her scared. She also started napping at school again even though we've been putting her to bed early every night. She acts like we put her to bed at midnight, though! I'm just not sure how to handle her behavior right now.
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