Counseling 101: How A Missing Child Affects The Community

I was driving my daughter from school the other day when I saw her giggling at something on her phone. I was like, “What’s so funny? What are you looking at?” When she turned her phone to me, I ended up stepping on the brake pedal so hard that I had to hold my arm out across my daughter’s chest to keep her head from hitting the dashboard.

Well, before you say anything, I am not a bad mother. I am also certainly NOT a bad driver. It just so happened that my teenage daughter showed me a clip from a social media platform, Tiktok. It was an image of a middle-aged woman with special effects overlaid to make her look like she was transforming from a human to a she-devil.

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“What the heck is that?” I demanded.

I mean, I could envision that woman really turning into a devil because of how good her image had been edited. And as a devout Christian, I did not want to think that way to anyone.

Giggling, my daughter said, “Relax, mom! This is the mother of that little boy Who went missing in my friend’s neighborhood last week. This clip had been going around on Tiktok because signs were pointing to his mother as the culprit.”

My head spun a little at every word that came out of my daughter’s mouth. I knew that I was not the techiest person, but I did not live under the rock. If there is any gossip, and my coworkers knew about it, they would relay the information to me. But this one never reached my radar, and it was disconcerting.

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Learning More About The Sad News

As soon as we got home, I asked my daughter to show me the news articles regarding that missing child. According to the earlier reports, a boy with autism snuck out of school one day and was seen going home in CCTV cameras. However, his family called the police to declare that he was missing.

It caused a city-wide search for the boy, and the law enforcers had been looking everywhere and asking everyone who could have possibly gotten him. The authorities even said in the beginning that the child might be hiding from them, considering he had a habit of doing the same thing to everyone regularly.

However, after a few days of searching in vain, my daughter said that there was a rumor spreading in her friend’s town that the boy was not missing at all. Instead, he had a deranged mother who drugged him to death and then dumped his body in the lake for calling 911.

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That’s when I turned to my husband, who apparently heard the same news earlier than I did.

“My God. Is that possible?” I asked him.

“Honey, we don’t know for sure, but I also heard at work that the police were starting to drain the lake. They must be running out of ideas and did not want to leave any stone unturned.”

Understanding The Situation

The more I pondered about it, the more I worried about the news’ impact on the town where the missing child came from. As a counselor, I came across people who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), even if they were not directly affected by such events. It was more of a dark cloud hanging over their heads and making them worry about the other horrible things that could happen in their neighborhood.

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In such cases, I would suggest a group meeting. They could form a circle and talk about their feelings regarding the awful events in town. It would not be too much for them to seek group counseling either, mainly if they lived in a close-knit community.

From what my daughter told me, after all, her friend’s parents and neighbors felt guilty for not seeing the likely signs that the boy’s mother could do a heinous act. Although there were no official news reports about it yet, it might only be a matter of time before reporters got wind of it. That would be especially true if they would find a body at the bottom of the lake. *knock on wood*

My daughter asked me what those people could likely do to move past this incident once the boy was found. I said, “They need to be more supportive of each other. If someone feels blue, they should check on them. It also matters to create a safe space for everyone to express their feelings. Otherwise, they may not be willing to talk about it.”

Final Thoughts

At this time of writing, I feel sad to announce that the boy has not been found. The law enforcers continued to retrace his steps from the school to the house, but they could not find clues that would lead to the child. We could only hope and pray that the rumors were incorrect about his mother and that the police could return the boy safely to his family.

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