December 11, 2009, Newsletter Issue #283: Leaving an Abusive Relationship with Children

Tip of the Week

Leaving an abusive relationship is often a process that feels like a journey rather than a short trip. The challenges of leaving can feel even more daunting when you are leaving with children. Use the following tips to create a little comfort along the road to safety.

1. Whether you are going to a safehouse, staying with friends or family, try as best you can to maintain your regular routine. Children should still be expected to go to school (even if that means transferring for safety reasons), do homework and chores, stick to bed time, etc.

2. If it is safe get some familiar things to take with you. Favorite storybooks, toys, CD's, sweatshirts and the like can be a great comfort in strange, new surroundings.

3. Give age appropriate explanations for why you are leaving home. Young children, especially, may ask many times to go home. Let your child know you understand how she feels. Allow him to talk about what he misses.

4. Some children may not talk about their feelings. Help them understand what they are experiencing by using reflective listening - "it sounds like you're saying...," "it sounds like you feel..."

5. Communicate as much as you are comfortable sharing with teachers and other caregivers.

6. Take good care of yourself. When your emotional resources are low it can be tough to be the kind of parent you really to be.

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