Talking to kids about recent terrorism events and truama is critical in minimizing PTSD reactions!

by | Sep 22, 2013

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Talking to kids about trauma and terrorism…  Quoting from this website resource…

The combination of life-threatening traumatic personal experiences, loss of loved ones, disruption of routines and expectations of daily life, and post-violence adversities pose psychological challenges to the recovery of children and families in the affected areas. The following issues may be helpful to consider: 

Reactions to Danger

Danger refers to the sense that events or activities have the potential to cause harm. In the wake of the recent catastrophe violence, people and communities have greater appreciation for the enormous danger of violence and terrorism and the need for effective emergency management plans. There will be widespread fears of recurrence that are increased by misinformation and rumors. Danger always increases the need and desire to be close to others, making separation from family members and friends more difficult.
Post Traumatic Stress Reactions

Post traumatic stress reactions are common, understandable, and expectable, but are nevertheless serious. The three categories are: 1) Intrusive Reactions, meaning ways the traumatic experience comes back to mind. These include recurrent upsetting thoughts or images, strong emotional reactions to reminders of the attacks, and feelings that something terrible is going to happen again; 2) Avoidance and Withdrawal Reactions, including avoiding people, places and things that are reminders of the attacks, withdrawal reactions, including feeling emotionally numb, detached or estranged from others, and losing interest in usual pleasurable activities; and 3) Physical Arousal Reactions, including sleep difficulties, poor concentration, irritability, jumpiness, nervousness, and being “on the lookout for danger.”

Children are clearly affected when observing or experiencing traumatic events.  They may be silent and go back to normal play and convenient distractions that are comfortable, but the pictures and voices stick.  Kids become confused with all the trauma shown and discussed at home and away from home especially in areas where there are news reports on TV.  If you observe some of the reactions described above in your children, it is a good bet they are experiencing fear from memories and flashbacks of seeing and hearing scary events.  When I was growing up we hardly talked about scary events in the context of making we siblings feel safe.  Scary events or experiences were often ignored or even escalated in parental anxiety, making kids even more fearful.  My parents didn’t do this intentionally…  Parents are scared too!  But as parents we need to think about how we frame these experiences with our children to protect them from living with fear long after the traumatic event occurs.  Take a look at the website provided in the link about and educate yourself as a parent.  Use the tools to help your kids resolve fears sooner rather than later.  If we wait or  just avoid talking about the fears that can occupy the minds of children, the memories of these incidents can become nightmares and flashbacks and create more stress in the future for youngsters and the family as a whole…

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story  click to order…


About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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