Dog bites cause physical injuries and scars that can last a lifetime. But what about the emotional scars that come with the trauma of being attacked by a dog? That is an especially sensitive issue when it comes to young victims of dig bites. Dog attacks cause fear, anxiety, and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in some cases. So how can parents help their children heal after a dog bite?
Child Psychiatrist R. Larry Schmitt, MD stresses that the single most important thing parents can do for their children after a dog bite is encourage them to talk about it. Talking about the event immediately after and on a regular basis following the accident can prevent latent emotional effects from developing over time. When fear and anxiety in children go unaddressed, they can lead to sleeplessness, anger, and behavioral problems.
Your Child is Not to Blame for Their Attack
When discussing the dog bite and your child’s feelings about it, it is important to refrain from interjecting your own emotions into the equation – other than saying you are sorry it happened. If you attach your own emotions to the event, your child may hide their own feelings for fear of making you sad. Blame should never enter the conversation, even if your child approached the dog. Guilt will hold the child back from true emotional healing. Always reassure the child that their feelings are normal and justified.
When sharing their feelings is not enough, and if a child still seems anxious about their encounter with a dog, professional intervention can be useful. Children who may need a professional’s intervention might suddenly be doing poorly at school, may seem to have lost pleasure in the activities they once enjoyed, or may display a phobia of dogs and other animals. Schmitt recommends a counselor or therapist who works with children on a regular basis and comes highly recommended from a friend or family member.
When the child seems to have healed physically and emotionally from the trauma of a dog bite, Schmitt suggests learning more about dog behavior as a family. Learning to recognize canine body language and physical cues can be empowering for children. In the way that we teach children to avoid a hot stove, we are similarly teaching them how to avoid another potential hazard. With a little patience, communication, and time, dog bite victims can one day recall their love for man’s best friend.
Delaware County Dog Bite Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Hold Negligent Dog Owners Accountable
Dog bite accidents are more common than you might realize. More often than not, they happen because a negligent owner failed to secure their pet. Dog bites cause painful physical injuries, and even more long-lasting emotional scars. If your dog bite accident has left you or your child fearful, anxious, and in pain, Delaware County dog bite lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help. We will hold a dog owners’ negligence accountable for your injuries. Call our offices to discuss your situation at 215-569-8488 or contact us online. With offices in Center City, Abington, Media, Wilmington, and Haddonfield, we serve clients throughout New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.