Whether it be natural disasters, public shootings, or random occurrences of violence, many of us have different reactions and feelings toward these events. Some of us may feel outrage, anger, fear, and even shock. As we reflect on our personal reactions to these events, some of us have children with whom we have no idea how to explain why these things happen. How do we talk about things that we are trying to understand ourselves? Where do I even start? How can I talk about these things to my child(ren) in a way that won't traumatize them even further?
This article is a great starting point for parents and professionals to talk to children about traumatic events. Dr. Cawn reviews how to normalize and validate children's feelings (and even our own feelings) and experiences toward these events.
If your child is exhibiting or experiencing more severe symptoms that are impacting their daily life, I would suggest seeking the help of a mental health professional. Symptoms and reactions to trauma may look different in children, and can include nightmares, acting out behaviors, defiance, hyper vigilance, etc.
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