The psychological effect of burglary on children

Burglary has a huge effect on the young and can cause them to suffer anxiety and nightmares. This is why we’re making a stand against burglary in order to protect not only our homes but also our children’s well-being.

As a parent who wants to protect and reassure their children, it can be a difficult and delicate subject to deal with. Child psychologist Dr Elizabeth Kilbey is an expert in supporting children and their families following a break-in. Here’s her advice on the matter:

Take care of yourself

Children feel safe and happy when adults feel safe and happy, so make sure you have the support you need to help manage what has happened. Victim Support is an excellent source of advice. Visit www.victimsupport.org.uk for more information.

Take your time

Give yourself some time before discussing this issue with your children. Think about how you want to respond to your children and their questions so you can feel confident and calm.

Take time to talk

It’s tempting to think it’s best to shield children from what has happened, and the realities of adult life. But children often already know more than adults realise and in the absence of information they have a tendency to assume the worst and let their imagination run wild.

Take time to plan

Help children understand that you now have a plan about how to make the family feel and stay safe. Children will feel very reassured by this information and it will help them regain a sense of control, which is crucial after the trauma of a burglary.

Take time to heal

Although it’s distressing, it’s not uncommon for children to have anxiety or other emotional difficulties following a burglary. With time and the right support, the majority of children will make a full recovery.