Trauma and children – the aftermath of the Manchester terrorist attack
I was invited to contribute to the BBC Radio Solent Dorset breakfast programme to talk about how parents, grandparents, aunts, uncle and the rest of us talk to our children about the events of Monday evening.
I thought I would post the notes I made, as I couldn’t make all these points in the time available.
Shock and anxiety are the perfectly natural response to completely un-natural events.
Lots of us will still be in shock, feeling numb – which is natural.
There is no need to rush to talk – it is very important that we allow natural timing to dictate how we respond.
A lot has been made that for our children, this is the first horrific event in England they will have experienced – however with access to Youtube and the internet, our children and young people have been exposed, sadly, to many awful events from around the world – and these experiences will give them resilience.
And the concert, Ariana Grande, was by someone who is a huge part of the lives of many children, which as adults we probably don’t quite get.
Talking with children needs to be led by them, and we need to keep what we say age appropriate – and if we don’t know the answers – it’s ok to say we don’t know, and I suggest that we look it up – together – so we can ensure that what we uncover is age appropriate. “What do you want to know?” is a good start.
I was asked if we should shield our children – and we do need to keep them safe and this could mean keeping some images or reports away from them.
Young minds can be harmed when they are repeatedly exposed to images and video because when we are young, we experience each image as a scary event, rather than lots of images of the same event. Frightening!
And some of our children are already anxious with exams coming up.
If you feel the anxiety is continuing then do have a conversation with your GP or your child’s teacher to check there isn’t another underlying problem.
And as adults we may be impacted too – don’t forget your own feelings and reactions – take time to care for you, too.
Use trusted websites for more information, BBC Newsround is a good one for age appropriate information. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround
Finally, remember all the hope and happy things in our world – and end any conversation with a happy memory or experience – reading a favourite book, looking at happy pictures, taking the dog for a walk or listening to our best music.
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.
About Alison Moore
Alison Moore is an experienced, registered accredited BACP counsellor, and counselling supervisor based in North Dorset.