When dogs bite, they often leave victims with catastrophic injuries. Regrettably, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs are more likely to attack children than adults. The injuries children suffer may go beyond bodily damage.
From a clinical fear of dogs to post-traumatic stress disorder, children may develop deep emotional and psychological scars that last long after their physical injuries heal. To address these, your child may need counseling in the weeks, months and even years after the attack.
Is your child reluctant to talk about the attack?
When trauma happens to children, they often find it difficult to talk about the experience. Internalizing trauma, though, may lead to additional psychological harm. Consequently, you should immediately begin a dialogue with your son or daughter. If your child refuses to speak to you about the attack, you may want to employ the services of a therapist.
Does your child have flashbacks?
Flashbacks and nightmares can be signs of serious mental illness. While you can comfort your child during these episodes, you may simply lack the skill set necessary to help your son or daughter cope with them. By contrast, a pediatric psychologist may have extensive experience working with young victims of psychological and emotional trauma.
Have your child’s behaviors changed?
Even if your child appears to be handling the aftermath of a dog attack just fine, his or her behaviors may tell a different story. If the young one in your family begins to behave poorly, falls behind in school or no longer appreciates his or her hobbies, you should contact a mental health professional immediately.
While it may be tempting to focus on your child’s physical injuries after a dog attack, you cannot leave his or her emotional and mental well-being to chance. Ultimately, by taking full advantage of psychological support and exploring your legal options, you may boost your son’s or daughter’s odds of recovering fully.