Helping Children Process Traumatic Events
When it comes to helping children comprehend traumatic events, parents first need to help them understand that it is often impossible to identify the reasons. Even adults cannot easily identify the reasons for many destructive events. It’s the crucial responsibility of parents to try to help their children process scary events.
Process the Event Yourself First
Children get strength and support from the emotional energy of their parents. If you become nervous and they sense it, they’ll also become nervous. So, process the event yourself first. When responding to a traumatic event, grieve privately and then try to explain it to your children. When parents calmly and comfortingly discuss a traumatic event, children can process it without getting heavily scared.
Talk Only About Necessary Things
Parents need to consider their children’s ages and maturity to decide how much to tell them about an event. However, generally, it’s ideal to talk only about the necessary things. Inform your kids of the things they need to know to get an overview of the event. Stay away from giving them all the details available on the news or letting them see images that might make them more frightened.
Discuss the Positive Things
You should explore methods to mention the positive things when discussing traumatic events with your kids. For example, if your kids see such an event on the news, you can talk about the rescue team, and assure them that helpers will always be there.
Allow Them to Talk About the Event
Kids should be allowed to convey their fears and feelings openly. You should try to create an environment where your children can safely discuss a scary event with you and ask questions. If the children are frightened, reassure and take care of them rather than dismissing their fears.
Stop Watching the Television Continuously
Turning off the television is an effective method to model positive behaviors when trying to help the kids process a traumatic event. Instead of listening to all the commentary and watching the images of the event, you are demonstrating to your children that doing so is harmful to your health. Let them understand that while staying updated on the current happenings is important, you don’t need to become entirely consumed by it.
Maintaining stability is one of the most effective things you can do to help your children process a traumatic event. Doing this after hearing tragic news might be difficult, but you should try to give your best shot to maintain your routine. Your children will feel safe by seeing you maintain consistency and routines.
As it is practically impossible to avoid traumatic events, parents have to take the responsibility of protecting their children. You need to protect your kids from harm and help relieve their fears. Devising a “Family Safety Plan” to manage crisis situations may be of good help. These plans may also help your children encounter and process the fears associated with tragic events. If you don’t have such a plan in place, devise it today.