Helping Youth and Students Cope with Scary News and Tragedy
If you’re like most youth across America, your life has been affected by violence outside your home. You might live in a place where fights, gangs, weapons, drug violence, rapes, and substance abuse seem “normal.”
Children and youth can face emotional strains after a traumatic event such as a car crash or violence.1 Disasters also may leave them with long-lasting harmful effects.2 When children experience a trauma, watch it on TV, or overhear others discussing it, they can feel scared, confused, or anxious.
The 2016 election has been long and fraught with strong emotions. As a nation, we have much to do to heal the divisiveness that has resulted. As parents, caregivers, and educators, we have a critical responsibility to help children and youth feel safe and secure and learn how to engage with others of differing viewpoints in a peaceful, tolerant, and respectful manner.
High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.
Actos de violencia que reciben mucha publicidad, particularmente los que ocurren en las escuelas, pueden confundir y asustar a niños que tal vez pueden sentir que ellos o sus amigos y seres queridos corren peligro. Se dirigirán a los adultos para información y para saber como reaccionar. Los padres y el personal de las escuelas pueden ayudar a que los niños sientan seguros al establecer un ambiente de normalidad y seguridad y conversar con ellos sobre sus temores.
Learn about who is most at risk for emotional distress from incidents of mass violence and where to find disaster-related resources. Incidents of mass violence are human-caused tragedies that can impact whole communities and the country at large. These types of disasters, which include shootings and acts of terrorism, often occur without warning and can happen anywhere, as shown by the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy of 2012 and the events of September 11, 2001.
Talking to Children About Tragedies (EN, SP)
After any disaster, parents and other adults struggle with what they should say and share with children and what not to say or share with them.