Banish the bogeyman
February 21, 2014
The Bogeyman is the living embodiment of children’s fears. The stuff of nightmares, he lurks in the dark, wears a mask and is dressed in black.
It’s common for children to go through a period of fearing the Bogeyman, routinely checking their closet or peering under their bed. Usually children grow out of this phase, but what happens if a child experiences a real life Bogeyman?
Children can be seriously affected by a burglary at home, whether or not
they were there, or even if they were asleep when it happened. Seeing their parents upset can be an unnerving and difficult experience to deal with in itself.
Children can react to a burglary in many ways. Some become afraid at night, having nightmares and fearing sleeping alone. Others may become very unsettled at home and may be frightened of being left by themselves or going into rooms on their own. Children may also be frightened the burglar will return or may still be the house.
The circumstances of the burglary can make a big difference to the child’s behaviour. For example, what time of day / night the burglar came, how the burglar got into the house, if they went in to their room or, worse still, if the child witnessed the burglary taking place. This can result in children feeling very vulnerable and uncomfortable in their own home, or on the other hand refusing to leave it in fear that they might see the burglar again.
If you have been the victim of a burglary there are some practical steps you can take to make your child feel much safer at home in the aftermath. Firstly it’s a good idea to sit down with your child and talk through the situation and encourage them to open up about their feelings. It’s also a good idea to walk around your home room by room, showing them there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Additionally, involving your children when talking about, or actively improving, home security can help them feel more secure. When fitting new locks or a home alarm let your children watch, and show them how they’re used, to make sure they are familiar with the new devices.
Giving your child a personal attack alarm may also give them a greater sense of security or control, especially if they walk home from school. It may also be worthwhile leaving a nightlight on while your child goes to bed as a temporary measure, until they adjust gradually to sleeping in the dark again.
For more information on helping your child cope with the impact of a burglary please visit www.victimsupport.org.uk or for more information on product to secure your home check out www.yale.co.uk/products.