Helping Kids Cope With Tragedy!

Helping kids
Helping kids deal with tragegy

One of the most difficult job that a parent can face is to help a chid deal with a tragedy.

We have all been through situations where when a tragedy strikes,  not only do we have our own grief to deal with, but help our children at the same time. Every week, there is some new tragedy happening that we cannot explain. So what can we do to help our kids deal with the tragedy whether it be a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, a mass shooting, or a lost friend or family member?

Here are some tips for helping kids deal with a tragic situation:

1. Give age appropriate information:

If your kids are toddlers or younger, the best thing to do is to keep them away from such news. If your kids are older, watch the news with them so you can talk about what happened. Also, limit the time that they spend on watching such news or discussion. If a younger child asks for any information, limit it to the facts that are age appropriate. Be truthful and do not predict what happened, but state only the facts. Do not assume that your kids are worried about or have the same concerns that you do. Also, try not to over talk said sensitive situation with your children, but let them be the one to ask questions.

2. Know your child’s temperament:

Every child is different. Some children are more sensitive to the situation than others. Not all children will show their reaction openly and that is where our job as a parent comes in to ask them what they heard about a particular tragedy, and how they feel about it.

3. Giving Assurance:

As Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” Reassuring your child is very important. It is easy for a child to feel helpless and out of control in such situations. Encourage them to express themselves. It is important for you to let them know that they are loved and you are there for them to answer any questions and concerns that they might have. Be honest with what you tell them. Do not undermine what happened, and it is okay if you do not have all the answers.

4. Model healthy emotion:

Let this also be a teaching moment for your child. Always remember, children learn or model behavior from their parents. Children have vivid imagination and a parent’s scary emotion can manifest more on a child’s mind than what it really is. Let them know that it is okay to feel scared and sad, but you are there for them. Your child will feel more secure if he/she knows that you are calm and composed.

5. Get back to the routine :

Try to get back to your normal routine as soon as possible. Children like routines because it gives them the sense of security, comfort, and stability.

6. Clues that indicate your kids need more help:

Some kids will recover from the tragic events in a very short time; but as we know, all kids will have different coping mechanisms of a grieving process, according to his or her level of maturity. We should keep an eye out for different clues that might indicate that a child needs help from a professional. Some of these clues are nightmares, bed wetting, stomach aches, headaches, mood swings, changes in eating habits, and their level of concentration. Though these are considered normal, if they persist for a long period of time or are intense, always consult a health care professional.

7. Focus on the positive:

Encourage the kids to look at the bright side, by letting  them know that even though bad things happen,  there are people who are good and compassionate in this world and relate age appropriate stories of the heroes that helped in a tragic situation. Pray with your kids for the victims and the families as that creates a sense of well-being. Use this tragedy as a learning experience to face any circumstances with a good attitude. As they grow older, it is inevitable that they will face some tragic situation like this. We cannot protect or shield them from every bad situation, but we can give them the ability to process the tragedy in a positive way and make them resilient. Also, be proactive and let your kids know if you are to volunteer or donate to help the people affected by the tragedy, this will make them compassionate . Lastly, hug your kids and remember that that embrace will speak louder than 1000 kind words.

Some sources for helping kids deal with a traumatic situation.

Fred Rogers CompanyHelping kids deal with a traumatic situation

Helping kids deal with stress

 

 

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this website is provided for informational purpose only and is not intended as a substitute for professional or medical advice. Do not use the information on this website to diagnose or treat any medical or health condition. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your professional healthcare provider.
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