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How to Support Siblings of a Child Who is Missing

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How to Support Siblings of a Child Who is Missing

Post  Guest on Mon 1 Feb - 18:09

How to Support Siblings of a Child Who is Missing

For most, the concept of child abduction is very difficult to comprehend. If you are a parent or family member of a child that is abducted, the feeling of disbelief, terror, anxiety, sadness and even rage can be overwhelming. A parent of a child that has been abducted will experience a wide range of feelings and at varying degrees. Adults can struggle with these feelings and find it very difficult to cope. Parents may even find it difficult to manage small day to day tasks due to feeling overwhelmed with emotion. A sibling of a child who is abducted also has a varying array of emotions. Parents of a child who is abducted often do not know how to inform their other children of the crisis. In addition, the parents may have difficulty dealing with the siblings due to their own debilitating feelings. In addition, family and friends may have difficulty in knowing how to handle the situation with the siblings. It is important to know that siblings of a child who is abducted need information, support and guidance as well.

Step 1

While it may be difficult to know exactly what to do or what to say to a child who had a sibling abducted, it is important to try. There is not a known perfect way to respond, however, it is known that ignoring the child may cause further problems. Siblings may be ignored due to lack of time. All time and energy is being placed on finding the missing child and on consoling the parents. Siblings often find themselves alone and very frightened. The first way to help support a sibling is to pay attention to them. Regardless of what age a person may be, developmentally or psychologically we all need attention. If you are not able or comfortable talking about the abduction, then talk about the child's school day or favourite toy or even watch a T.V. show with them. Any of these actions will help them to know and feel they are not alone. In a situation where there are multiple siblings, understand that they may not know how to comfort each other. They may not even talk to each other about the abduction due to fear, sadness or lack of ability. To support siblings, make sure they all feel like they are supported by others.

Step 2

Children who's sibling has been abducted are often not informed of the situation. This is often due to fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. Also, fear of not knowing what to say. In addition, even if a child is informed, they may not understand the entire concept. They may also not understand all the terminology. It has been noted in an Ebook written by siblings of a child who was abducted (Link:- http://amissingchild.weebly.com), that many of them were not told what was happening. They knew something was wrong but were not told. In addition, they were consumed with seeing their parents grieve, having media and police in the house, and many people all around. Siblings need to be informed. The information that is shared and how is dependent on the age of the sibling. The parents should be asked if they would like help informing the siblings. whether it is the parents or another informing the siblings of the abduction, it is important to remember to explain some of the terminology. Use easy to understand words. It may also be helpful to explain not only what has happened, but what will happen. It is a good idea to explain why the police and media will be present. It is also good to explain how a search is performed.

Step 3

A person who grieves can experience extreme emotions. Some of these emotions are anxiety, fear, sadness, rage, powerlessness and hopelessness. A child can also experience these emotions. The difference is usually noted in behavior. Depending on the child's age or developmental stage, the behaviors may include: withdrawal from friends, social activities or activities that were once found to be enjoyable; regression in behavior such as development of tantrums or defiance; separation anxiety noted in not leaving the immediate vicinity of parents; drop in grades or performance in extracurricular activities; or depressive writing (letters, stories, poems or blogs). It is important to help a sibling acknowledge and express their feelings. Many times, a sibling will not know what to do or how to express themselves. Offering a sibling the opportunity to talk is helpful. Offering them several people or support systems is encouraged. Help them write down a list of names and numbers they can call. Have them place in an easy to reach and view place. if list is visible, they will be more likely to use the phone list. It is also helpful to offer links and numbers to support groups. Suggesting a child support group like Rainbows or even a therapist can be a great way to offer support.

Step 4

The issues of fear and anxiety also needs to be addressed. The sibling may feel fearful that they will be taken too. They may be fearful that their sibling will never return. They may be fearful that their family will never be the same. They may also feel that their parents will never be OK again. If you feel you are not capable of handling this issue, suggest professional help. If possible, try to talk directly about these fears. Remember that a child may not admit to these fears, but they are probably occurring.

Step 5

Try to remember that a sibling of a child who was abducted is still a child, regardless of age, development or social status. Playing and having fun are still necessary. Many younger children feel guilty about having fun when their parents are in crisis or if they know their missing sibling can not have fun. It is important to help encourage play and fun activities. Help decrease some of the guilt by engaging in something fun like going for a bike ride, to the park, or to a movie. The guilt may also be a very overwhelming feeling in many situations. The child may feel guilty that they are safe, but their sibling is not. Supporting a child should include dealing with this issue.

Step 6

You can support a sibling by giving them your wisdom, patience, understanding, time, love and hugs. Hugs are a great sense of comfort for many. It is important to check in often, as they may want your help but not seek it out. It is important to acknowledge their day to day activities as well as successes. It is important to validate that the world is safe for them, that they are still a part of the family, and that they are loved. It is important to encourage the belief that they can survive.




Last edited by Schnuffel on Mon 1 Feb - 21:03; edited 2 times in total

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Re: How to Support Siblings of a Child Who is Missing

Post  Susan on Mon 1 Feb - 19:44


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