Health Library
Caregiver Coping with Trauma

How to Cope with Trauma as a Caregiver

When your child experiences a difficult event, it affects you too. You may feel all kinds of emotions. This is normal. Shock, anger, guilt, and sadness are a few of the feelings you may have. If you experienced a difficult event in the past, this may bring up old memories and feelings. Coping with these feelings will help your child’s recovery.

Ways to Cope

  • Take care of you so you can take care of your child.
  • Remind yourself of the good things in your life.
  • Give yourself time to feel whatever you are feeling.
  • Identify your support people, personal or professional, and reach out.
  • Name and use your strengths. Remind yourself of times you overcame other challenges.
  • Create a plan with your child to help you both feel safer about the future.
  • Set small goals and celebrate when you reach them.

Take Care of You

Parenting is hard enough and a difficult event can make it more challenging to be at your best. When you take time to listen to your own needs you will help your child.

  • Stop and take five deep breaths throughout the day.
  • Spend some time in nature.
  • Stop and listen to the sounds around you.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Call a friend.
  • Write down three things you are grateful for.
  • Read a book.

Remember That Healing Takes Time

If you or your child are in immediate danger, call 911. There are many professionals who can help you.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or 988
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD
  • National Domestic Violence Support: 1-800-799-SAFE
  • National Parent Help Hotline: 1-855-4A-PARENT
  • Parent Stress Line: 1-800-632-8188

Last Updated 02/2023

Reviewed By Sarah Zawaly, Clinical Program Manager

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The Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children’s is a premier program that has helped set the national standard for enhancing and strengthening evaluations of child abuse and trauma.