Parenting & Families

Helping Your Child Feel Safe While Their Country is at War

On September 11, 2001, the United States of America took a direct hit on its way of life. The fear and emotional uncertainty such an attack created caused adults and children to feel both anger and grief. This loss of stability threatened our security and the very balance of our lives. Though children can often be more resilient towards their surroundings, they can also be the most susceptible to anxiety and grief when their security has been shaken. As new terrorist alerts fall upon us, it is the responsibility of the adults in children’s lives to make them feel safe and secure. Dr. Gail Gross, a nationally recognized family and child development expert has tips for parents, teachers and guardians on communicating with children regarding fears they have about possible terrorist attacks.

Dr. Gross’s Strategies for Reassuring Children during Times of War

·  Communication. It can be helpful for children to hear adults describe their own feelings in a very literal way so they, in turn, can feel comfortable discussing their feelings as well. Through this listening and exchanging of feelings, children and adults can re-connect.

·  Protection. In unfamiliar times children become very vulnerable. Practice safety procedures with them so that in the event of a terrorist attack, they are familiar with what to expect and know what they need to do.

·  Honesty. It is essential to be honest with children and to give them age-appropriate information about what is happening around them. Partner with children when creating a strategy or plan for emergency – if children feel involved, they will feel empowered.