Kids and Trauma
After traumatic events like the Boston Marathon or the OK Tornadoes, everyone is affected, even our children. Traumatic events threaten everyone differently, but children are very vulnerable to trauma.
How do we respond to our children during times like these?
Here are a few important tips that we must do to help our children and adolescents through this difficult times:
- Remind them and reassure them that you are going to do everything you can to protect them.
- Encourage them to talk with you about how they feel. Often, when children are faced with trauma, they begin to act younger – hoping to revert to a happier time – and parents need to understand this is a coping response. It is easy to get upset and tell them to “act their age” but Parents should listen and understand what they are going through.
- Let them know that they can trust you with anything.
- When they ask you questions, make sure that you answer them honestly, but reassure them that you are always there. But, being honest with them doesn’t mean that you have to inform them of things that they do not need to know at their age.
- Think positively. It is easy to ask the “What if?” questions. Don’t let the imaginary worst-case affect them. When asked “What if?” just remind them of the positive things happening around them.
- Avoid re-broadcast and live news of traumatic events. To children with vivid imaginations, it is easy to have nightmares or be terrified by the things seen on television.
- Finally, stick to the normality of life. One of the most beautiful things about children is that they can forget things quickly. Make sure that you keep life normal and continue on through the hardships.