Helping Children Talk About Traumatic Events

With the anniversary of 9/11 two days away, I thought it might be helpful to put up a few links with resources for helping children cope with difficult subjects such as trauma and loss. All of these come from the NYU Child Study Center in New York.

Talking with Children About Difficult Subjects: Illness, Death, Violence and Disaster: Contrary to adults’ fears, talking about illness, death, violent acts or threatening events will not increase a child’s level of distress. It is very important to engage in an open discussion about children’s feelings, fears and worries. Avoiding discussion of scary and sad events and the strong feelings they engender likely has more potential for harm than talking about them does.”

The Day Our World Changed: The Anniversary of 9/11: With links to guides for both parents and teachers on how to talk to children about traumatic events. They were developed for the fifth anniversary of 9/11, but have tips and advice that can be helpful for anyone working with children “regardless of their exposure to 9/11.”

Building Resilience in Children in the Face of Fear and Tragedy: “Despite the potential for mental health problems, research on the capacity of children to overcome disastrous life events or living circumstances indicates that children can emerge from horrific life experiences with positive outcomes…People caring for children and adolescents can do much to foster such positive outcomes.”

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