Helping Children Deal With Tragedy
The tragedy that unfolded in front of our eyes this week was horrific. There are no words to describe the way all of us are feeling. However, as adults, we can communicate our feelings in many ways. For children, it is much tougher. Many parents do not know how to handle a situation like this, since we have never personally experienced any tragedy of this magnitude. I would like to offer some suggestions on what we can do to help our children through this terrible crisis.
- Tell your child that they are safe. Stay with the normal routine; children need structure to feel secure.
- DO NOT let them watch the horrible images over and over again on TV. Put on their favorite show. I recommend that for adults as well.
- Be honest. If they ask questions be truthful, but remember to tell them that we will do everything to keep them protected.
- Have some special family time and talk about your feelings. Let your child cry if they need to. The same goes for you!
- Let them draw pictures to express their feelings and talk about it.
- They might get stomach aches or headaches and even vomit. That is a normal reaction from this tragedy. Call a doctor if it doesn’t improve in a couple of days!
- Read to your child at night, this is very soothing for both of you! If you need help, please do not hesitate to call a counselor. Mental health counselors can be found at www.ihelpmoms.com and Dr. Lauren Goldstein is offering free therapy and grief counseling at www.drlaurengoldstein.com.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire community, especially to the families who have lost loved ones.
Dr. Cindy Bunin
Family Therapist and Cambridge School Director
See this additional article for books, teen communication tragedy websites and more resources to help us during this difficult time: