Family Considerations

You will need the love and support of your family even more now. Do not let the trauma of the loss disrupt the family unit. Strive to maintain caring relationships with all members of your family. Be aware that the other children in the family are undergoing significant stress as a result of the loss of a sibling; they may be experiencing sadness, fear, guilt, anger, or jealousy of the parents attention. All these reactions may manifest themselves in sleep disorders or behavior problems. You may want to consider the need for family counseling.

Following is a list of recommendations that families should consider upon the loss of a child:

  1. Anticipate panic, anxiety, and periods of depression so that you will not be alarmed when they occur. These are all normal and common emotional reactions to a significant loss.
  2. Recognise personal stress symptoms: fatigue, irritablity, isolation, sudden mood swings, and major changes in sleeping, eating, and sexual patterns. Learn to take care of yourself even when you do not feel like it.
  3. Realize that your family or friends may grieve in a fashion similar to or quite different from yours. Do not imagine them to be cold or uncaring if their moods do not match yours.
  4. Seek out self-help groups and meet with other parents of abducted children. Child Find Canada can help put you in touch with local resources and crisis centers. You are not alone in this problem.
  5. Anticipate pangs of sadness on the child's birthday, holidays, or special family times.
  6. Realize that there is no right time to feel happy or sad. Your feelings are legitimate. Learn how to recognize and handle them appropriately. Keep from victimizing yourself with guilt.
  7. You will probably go through the following stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, and then gradual recovery. Parents whose children have been abducted may go through these stages several times, since the resolution of the cycle requires the location or recovery of the child.
  8. If you have other children, attend to their nurturance or make appropriate arrangements for them when you are not up to daily parenting. Grandparents, neighbors, or friends can provide temporary relief duty.
  9. If you are married, stay as close as possible to your spouse. You are both in emotional distress, however, and it may be difficult sometimes to solve your problems rationally and objectively.
  10. Stay in contact with local, provincial and national resources that can help you with your search for your child. Networking with others provides greater coverage of the case and more support for you. Others can work for you while you take time out to rest. Do not let possible frustration with law-enforcement efforts immobilize you.
  11. When unduly stressed, avoid making major decisions, such as quitting your job, moving, or changing your marital status. Get help in discussing these decisions if they require your immediate attention and cannot be delayed. Be wary of people who would take advantage of your vulnerability at this time.
  12. You are entitled to breaks. Going out and resuming social contacts does not mean that you have abandoned your child. Do not feel pressured to live up to the expectations of the community.