What Do We Tell Our Children?Written by Dr. Dorree Lynn
What Do We Tell Our Children? or Little Pitchers Have Big Ears
In last few days, be it on a TV interview, a call in program, at a meeting or a consultation, people ask variations of following questions. ďWhat do we tell our children about bombing? Shall we keep it a secret? Shall we wait with little ones until they ask? After all they donít know difference, anyway.Ē They say. ďAt what age can they comprehend what has happened? Wonít it scare them to talk to them?Ē
Adults often forget that children have ears. They make mistake of believing that if a child isnít told about an event, he or she wonít know what you donít want him or her to know. Remember your own youth. Didnít you learn almost everything your parents didnít want you to? Children pick up secrets like sponges. And, if you donít tell them your version, they will fill in blanks with mixed-up stories of their own.
Very young children donít know difference between reality and fantasy. One burning building looks like another, one they have seen in movies or on television or even a cartoon. But, depending upon how it is presented to them, children of about three can begin to differentiate fact from fiction.
During a crisis such as one we are undergoing, be it war or a terrorist situation, most important thing an adult can do is to tell simple truths calmly. I donít care if you have to go to bathroom and throw up because you are so upset. Remain calm and steady with your young children (and instruct their teachers to do same). If your children feel safe with you, they will have a much better chance of managing to decipher mťlange of facts and images bombarding them. It is a mistake to try to hide what is happening from any child that asks about an event or what they see on television or hear at school or in street. Over age of three, something must be said, even if they donít ask.
What You Still May Be Experiencing, After September 11, 2001Written by Dr. Dorree Lynn
What You Still May Be Experiencing After September 11, 2001
Every one of us who has experienced events of September 11th and aftermath, has encountered stress which is far beyond what is usual in our lives. Unusual reactions to an unusual situation are normal. Below are some of reactions you may have. Although we may experience them at different times Ė immediately, or days, even weeks later Ė they are generally temporary. If we recognize and accept these emotional reactions, we can shorten time we experience them. Disbelief
-Feelings of re-experiencing events -Recall of past trauma/loss -Heightened responses to aftershocks, loud noises, or other surprises -Feelings of sadness, anger, irritability -Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual -Physical discomfort: headaches, stomachaches, sore muscles, cold symptoms -Increase or decrease of appetite -Discomfort in places you normally would feel safe in -Feelings of exhaustion -Feelings of vulnerability, loss of control, confusion -Forgetfulness, loss of concentration, difficulty making decisions, or thinking creatively -Feelings of guilt/relief, depression, tearfulness -Fear of laving your home or loved ones -Discomfort being alone and/or social withdrawal -Feeling a need to reevaluate your life Ė whatís really important to you, whatís not