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Talking To Kids About Traumatic Events: Part 2

Last week, Westport psychologist Dr. Joshua Eudowe offered insights into why parents must judiciously ground their children in age- appropriate, trustworthy facts in order to prevent irrational fears from developing.

Yet besides having discussions with children, what else can be done to lower their anxiety?

In Part 2, Dr. Eudowe says:



Caring for pets is a great task.




Can I get away with this today?



As parents, we constantly model for our children. Remember: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Remain calm. Carefully and attentively listen to your children’s concerns. Don’t be engaged in other activities while your child is sharing fears or asking questions. Don’t be on your phone while yelling at them to get off theirs. Listen to them. Validate their concerns by saying things such as, “I can see how scared you are, and I know it doesn’t feel good,” or “There are many things we don’t know right now, but we’re doing everything to be safe.”  Don’t invalidate their fears by saying things like, “You have nothing to worry about.” It’s not true, and they know it. You will become a less trusted source for information.

Kids need us. Be there for them!

Symptoms to watch out for during any traumatic experience.

Avoidance. This is the number one challenge in treating trauma. People don’t want to discuss or even think about frightening events. Therefore, adults and children avoid discussions. In terms of communication, be careful (or ask a professional) if your gut tells you that your child is avoiding a conversation, rather than merely being uninterested. A parent’s intuition is usually correct; trust it. Either way, conversations should occur frequently.


Dr. Joshua Eudowe

If your child exhibits several of these signs to a point where they interrupt normal functioning, seek professional help as soon as possible. Unlike some other mental health conditions, trauma can intensify quickly. Left untreated, it can worsen considerably. The COVID-19 pandemic will create enormous amounts of fear and anxiety, in all of us. Early intervention is the key to moving past this global pandemic. When the virus is eventually contained and treated, the wake of emotional dysregulation will grow exponentially. Now is the time for proactive measures.

With COVID-19 spreading at a rapid pace, many therapists are working remotely. While not ideal, even phone or video sessions can be invaluable in preventing symptoms from worsening. Please seek professional guidance; don’t wait until your child exhibits significant symptoms.

At least 5 young people in Fairfield County have been hospitalized because of suicidal thoughts related to anxiety during the coronavirus crisis. If you or someone you know is having a difficult time, reach out for help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. or click here for additional resources.)

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