I am a parent

It is one of the worst things you can experience as a parent; your child has gone through an unpleasant or traumatic sexual experience. What can you do? How can you support and help your child in their process?​

Your role

Your first instinct as a parent is probably protecting your child. Maybe you feel as though you have to stick up for your child or even force them to report their experience to the police or speak about it. It is important as a parent that you realise that it is not you who went through the experience. However strong your feelings of anger, sadness and wanting to protect your child might be, they can never come before the feelings and needs of your child.

Give space

Your first instinct as a parent is probably protecting your child. Maybe you feel as though you have to stick up for your child or even force them to report their experience to the police or speak about it. It is important as a parent that you realise that it is not you who went through the experience. However strong your feelings of anger, sadness and wanting to protect your child might be, they can never come before the feelings and needs of your child.

Do not judge

It is possible that in their process, your child may make choices that you personally would not have made if you were in their position. However, it is important to realise that you are not in the same situation as your child and only he/she/they knows what is best for them, in this situation. It is therefore important to try to listen and go into the conversation without judgement.

Pay attention to victim blaming

One of the worst things that can happen to someone who has experienced unwanted sexual behavior, is not being believed or being blamed for what happened by their own parents. This can not only lead to your child completely shutting off, but it can also severely damage your relationship with your child. Therefore it is important to pay attention to what you say or express towards your child. Whatever happened to them, it is not their fault.

Your healing process​

As a parent, it can have an enormous impact on you if your child has experienced unwanted sexual behavior. It is thus also very important to think about yourself and how you feel. You also have something to process here, so please give yourself the space and time for that. However, it is important to keep in mind that your healing process is separate from that of your child. You can always visit our page ‘on the right track’ to find an overview of organisations that might help you in your process as a parent.

Do you have a specific question? Join our community!

Ask your questions in the community and connect with others who are in similar situations. Help each other and share your knowledge! ​