If we have a hard time wrapping our brain around it, how the hell do you think the kids feel… TURN THE TV OFF!!!!
I’ve worked in pediatrics and dealt with mental health patients for decades. WE NEED TO STOP THE MADNESS!!! Wake up! There is hatred! It sucks! But, we cannot change it, and we need to know how to protect ourselves from it emotionally.
The list in this article is a repost from 2 previous posts; one about natural disasters, and a post about Sandy Hook (no explanation needed). The info I share holds true for so many disastrous and tragic situations… PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE… PROTECT THE CHILDREN!!!
Children have amazingly wonderful imaginations, it’s beautiful… Until there are negatives in their world, then the imagination can be a scary thing. Be aware of what your children are exposed to and respond age appropriately.
HOW can you help your child go through a stressful event and minimize worry and concern?
- The most important thing to do is stay calm. Children look to the adults around them for support and comfort. Often, parents will appear anxious, worried, and constantly talk about their fears and “what if…” scenarios. When a child is exposed to these behaviors, they will most likely be more anxious and worried as well.
- Turn the TV OFF! Watching images of tragedy, destruction, hurt people, angry weather, and listening to hyped up newscasters will only increase a child’s concern. (Watch a family movie or play a family game instead.)
- Talk to your child about their fears and concerns if they are exposed, some kids need to know what’s going on in their community. The walls really DO have ears!
- Children will often be worried about things because they have exaggerated or irrational predictions about what may happen. Those old enough need a little info, the young ones need to be protected.
- Encourage your child to ask you ANY questions they want. Discuss what they are worried about, the unknown can be much more scary than reality to a child.
- Find time for friends. Have life return to normal as soon as possible…
- It can be the best way to help your child understand that things will be ok!
- Spend time together, this will make your child feel comfortable and secure.
- Remember, children are resilient, they often persevere during times of stress and turmoil!
- Encourage your child to journal or draw to deal with their feelings.
- Continue to practice habits for good health. Get adequate sleep, exercise and make sure you eat well. Taking care of your body in times of stress is important.
Helping children through times of tragedy and high anxiety can be challenging. Recognizing that your child is having difficulty dealing with a situation is not always easy.
Symptoms of stress and anxiety can present in multiple ways, such as:
- bad dreams
- acting out
- not eating well
- not wanting to venture away from a parent/caregiver
- stomach aches
- withdrawal from play with friends
- difficulty concentrating
- difficulty in school
If your child seems to be having lingering effects for a prolonged period of time, I would recommend seeing your primary care provider to ask for a mental health referral.
Children can have Acute Stress Syndrome, which occurs immediately or within a month of the precipitating event. Children can suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome if the fear and anxiety symptoms last for weeks or months.
I wrote a post recently on what Childhood Anxiety looks like day to day… as a society, we aren’t even recognizing it, please read about the kids that I know personally that deal with the stresses of our world every day in YOU’RE WRONG!! That’s not it at all…
Ultimately, children depend on us to protect them. We NEED to protect our society a little better. We need to be more vigilant. We need to make sure we are protecting the future for those that will be our future.
The most important journey is the one that leads to the wellbeing and good health of our society. We need to do whatever we can to make sure our children get the support and understanding that they need.
Make a difference. Be the change. That’s the only way we can continue to enjoy the journey…