After a tragedy, it is not uncommon for children to become withdrawn and experience emotional distress. In some cases, the children are able to move forward without the need for intervention. However, some children need help in handling their emotions. If your child recently experienced a tragedy, here are some ways you can help him or her cope.
Offer Reassurance to Your Child
In the days following the tragedy, your child needs a significant amount of emotional support. Tragedies can leave children less than secure and afraid. By providing reassurances, you are letting your child know that he or she is safe and that you are there to help.
Support can be shown in a number of ways, but verbal and physical reassurances often mean more during this time. Simple actions, such as hugging your child or encouraging him or her to talk about what happened, can mean a lot.
Attend Family Counseling
For some children, additional support outside of the family is needed. Family counselors have experience in helping children deal with traumatic experiences. You and your family can also benefit from the counseling.
Knowing what to say or how to respond to your child's questions after a horrible experience can be difficult. Some parents struggle out of fear of saying the wrong thing. During family counseling, a trained professional can help you and your family learn how to provide support to your child.
Focus on Normalcy
A traumatic experience can disrupt your child's normal routines and your household. As long as the disruption continues in your lives, it will be harder for your child to make progress. The more normal things seem for your child, the easier it will be for him or her to become emotionally healthy.
Normalcy means trying to stay as close to your child's normal routine as possible. It is important to note, although you want your child to return to his or her normal routines, you need to avoid pushing. If you place too many expectations on your child right now, he or she could start to feel overwhelmed and suffer additional emotional problems.
For instance, you can temporarily lower your expectations for schoolwork and extracurricular activities until your child reaches a solid emotional level. Your family therapist can help determine at which point you can return to previous expectations.
There are many other ways you and your family can help your child cope with what happened. Work with your family's therapist, such as Giblin Consulting, to develop a treatment plan that provides the emotional support needed.