Communicating With Children About Disasters

The events of September 11th affected everyone personally in some manner. Children were also affected, and in all likelihood more than we presume. Just from watching news broadcasts children are already impacted in ways we're only starting to notice. Teachers are even reporting that in art classes, young children are drawing chilling pictures of the Twin Towers with planes crashing into them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released some points of recommendation to assist in helping children's emotional health. These points were published on September 12, 2001 on the Intelihealth web site. The points they advise are:

It is critical to communicate to children that they are safe. Given what they might have seen on tv, they have to understand that the violence is isolated to particular areas and they'll not be harmed. Parents should try to make sure children that they've done everything they are able to to keep their children safe.
Adolescents particularly may be hard hit by these types of events and parents may want to watch out for signs including: sleep disturbances, fatigue, lack of pleasure in activities enjoyed previously, and initiation of illicit substance abuse.
Overexposure to the media could be traumatizing. It's unwise to let children or adolescents view footage of traumatic events again and again. Children and adolescents must not watch these events alone.
Adults have to help children comprehend the significance of such events. Discussion is crucial. It ought to be stressed that the terrorist acts are ones of desperation and horror - and that they're not about politics or religion. Children should know that lashing out at members of a particular religious or ethnic group will only cause more harm.
Chiropractors also recognize that this time of stress effects, and is affected by nervous interference from subluxations. It is therefore very important that children be chiropractically checked for subluxations and adjusted as needed.

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