Helping children deal with tragedy



Even though my daughters are 15 and probably think they know more than they do, this is still the first question I get when a tragedy occurs. Especially when the event appears to be manmade.

The problem is, I don’t really know the answer. I don’t know why two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon. I don’t know why 26 children and adults died in a shooting at a school in Newtown. And I don’t know why a gunman killed 12 and injured dozens more in a darkened theater in Colorado.

And that’s what I say. I don’t know.

But I can’t leave it at that. I know they are looking for answers. I know they need some way to make sense of it all. I know I need to be there for them at this moment.

So we talk about what happened. We pour over the images and videos of the day. We express our concerns for those who were there, a few we have the privilege to call friend. We hope they catch whoever did this.

We keep watching until we hear the same things over again and then pause, before we turn the TV back on or check Facebook again to see if there’s anything new. We get homework done, eat dinner, get showers and, if needed, we talk about it some more.

As a web content producer at Akron Children’s Hospital, I’m aware of resources that speak directly to me as a parent, and may also have something to offer to my daughters. Melissa Peace, project director for our Center for the Treatment and Study of Adverse Childhood Events, shared these resources with me.

I’m not sure if a “why” is in there, but I’m hopeful the following links can will help me with the “how do I deal with these feelings,” “how do we work through this,” and “how can we help.” I hope you find them helpful as well.

Akron Children’s Hospital



National Child Traumatic Stress Network

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