Helping Children Make Sense of Scary News

scared childAre you concerned about what your child is thinking about the recent events in Charleston, South Carolina?  Children can feel stress and concern for their well-being.  The American Psychological Association says that “Intense or prolonged exposure to the event, including geographic proximity” and “television exposure following the event, even if the child was not directly affected” may impact children.

What are the signs to look for?

If you child asks questions about the event or seems uneasy about going to church, your child may be feeling some stress.  Other symptoms of stress may include

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Increased startle response and arousal level
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Safety and security concerns
  • Restlessness
  • Social isolation
  • Aggression
  • Peer rejection
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities or hobbies

What can you do?

First of all, let your child know you love him/her and that everything will be all right.  Seek support from the community, such as attending prayer service for the victims.  Focus on your child’s positive attributes and adaptive problem-solving skills.  Keep in mind  that your child’s age and stage of development will impact their ability to understand.

written by Anita Dailey, SECA Representative