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Kids and Crisis: Helping Children Cope with a Crisis. Vol. 35


Kids coping with Crisis.

Kids and Crisis!!How do we help?

Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Tower.

Download Free Handout “Helping Children Cope with a Crisis


"Limit TV viewing. "There is no reason," says a child psychologist, "for children to see these horrific sights.

“Limit TV viewing.” There is no reason,” says a child psychologist, “for children to see these horrific sights.”

The World Trade Towers was destroyed by terrorism a number of years ago and many follow on plans have been disrupted. Yet, an icon of America itself has been removed through that violent act. We were all stunned, angered, fearful and tried to cope. During that time of crisis it was important that we do not neglect our children. They reacted to this crisis in their own ways. Younger children can accept it as another show on TV. Older adolescents responded with anger and thoughts of revenge, so even join the military when they reached the age.   In events as these it is important to limit or not allow live TV viewing for younger children.  Although, during this event a great number of children were struck by the loss of life and the loss of security.

There are Crisis Counselors who are prepared and positioned to provide services to kids and parents alike in the future. But most will never seek these services. What then can we as parents, teachers and counselors offer to the kids that we see everyday?

Children rely on the adults in their lives for their sense of safetyChildren rely on the adults in their lives for their sense of safety.
Click here to download a free Handout on helping our students deal with this Crisis.

More than anything, students need from us all the love, strength, reassurance, and calm that we can muster.More than anything, students need from us all the love, strength, reassurance, and calm that we can muster.

Reassurance. This is the short answer and perhaps the best. Remember when we were small and monsters stirred under the bed or in our closet, getting in bed with Mom and Dad made everything all right. The monsters may have still been there, but being reassured by the lack of fear in our parents caused us to calm down and go to sleep. In the same manner, if we can offer our students reassurance it will dispel their fears and help them stay calm. According to Maslow’s Theory, Safety is the basic human need and all other needs are based on it being met. Perception being the only reality that a person has, if our students perceive that they are safe they will be able to move on to higher needs such as education.

How can we reassure our students? First and foremost, do not lie to them. That was a horrible act and that is a fact. It is also a fact that it could happen to any of us. However, it is also a fact that we have survived that event and other disasters. We will continue to survive such attacks by terrorism or by nature. The important thing is to continue our daily activities (now do we Return to Normal). It is appropriate to take time to discuss the act or even to have a moment of silence in support of families and kids who have been affected. Yet, spending too much time discussing the event or focusing on the horror is not appropriate nor productive.  An associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, tells parents not to force children to talk about these types of attacks if they don’t want to. But if they do, “let them get their feelings out. Let them make drawings or write stories. And above all, hold them, kiss them, spend time with them, and comfort them. Tell them that everyone has similar feelings, although the world can sometimes be a scary place, it is still a safe place for the most part. “

Attitude and atmosphere are more important than words. The calm reassurance of an authority figure appearing to believe that all is well will do far more to dispel fear in our students than any words of wisdom that we might say. Those who are in the right places have the right plans and are doing the right things. With this confidence in ourselves, we can offer our students a sense of well-being that will help them cope and get through this or any other crisis.

What Can you do?  

  • Download Helping Children Cope with a Crisis.” Handout.
  • Request PTSD  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (info)”

(See the Lock Out Violence Everyday Campaign  A community violence prevention program).


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