Dealing with Trauma
In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, many people have been struggling with what to tell children about the terrible events that took place. Do you tell the children openly? How much detail to you share with them? Do you let them watch television and see the pictures?
For each family, the decision might be different. Each child processes and handles emotional information in a different way.
In my family growing up, my parents would sit my brother and I down and discuss things openly and intelligently. My mother always encouraged my brother and I to ask questions. We were shown the news, but more as a family activity where we could ask about what we were seeing. I believe that this is where my knack for journalism came in.
I remember watching the news when former President Reagan was shot. I sat by the television for hours taking notes to later report to my parents what I had learned. Other events that took place in the world I followed carefully like the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in the early 80’s.
I think often times people give children less credit than the deserve when it comes to what they can handle. I wouldn’t advise showing a small child some of the horrible things that are shown on the network news, however, discussing with them current events does help them become accustomed to the ways of the world.
Below are links that I have found that could prove useful:
Talk to Your Children: How to Explain the Disaster
National Association of School Psychologists
National Mental Health Association
Zero to Three ~ Dealing with Terrorism