Children, like adults, struggle to make sense of trauma. They also respond differently to trauma because they may lack the complex thinking skills needed to understand the situation. Experts in children dealing with trauma suggest basic information in helping children cope:
- Be aware of your own reactions and feelings.
- Monitor how much violent coverage children watch. What and how much children watch should be dependent on their age.
- Parents need to be aware of the adult conversations they are having with other adults. Children are like sponges. Overhearing adult conversations can be as traumatic as watching the images on TV.
- Answer a child¹s question simply and in an age appropriate manner.
- Expect children to come home from school with additional questions and concerns expressed by their peers. Be ready to discuss these fears, misunderstandings and insecurities.
- Provide comfort and safety at all times.
- Do not argue with them about their feelings. Be reassuring.
–Sr. Barbara Kennedy, OSM, LPC