Helping News                                                   October, 2008   Issue 3

Terrorism, War and Crisis: Think about the message you want to send to your children.

As we are keenly aware in today’s precarious environment, current events can induce high levels of stress. Left unmanaged, these stress reactions to world events can be especially debilitating for a child, who may feel less empowered as it is. The challenge in these times is to manage this real stress, while sending the right message to our children.
Parents, caregivers, teachers, therapists,                                                                          etc. have an incredible task at present. By                                                                        drawing on personal examples of                                                                                       successful management, reminding                                                                                    children how they can be prepared by                                                                               revisiting plans already in place (fire,                                                                                safety & reporting plans), and minimizing                                                                          exposure to emotionally charged news                                                                               reports, adults “in charge” can handle the                                                                        task of reducing high stress. Be aware of                                                                           potential stress reactions, i.e., sleeplessness, vague fears, physical complaints, concentration difficulties and irritability. Those modeling poise and preparedness can support youngsters best. 

                     See the warning signs 

The signs of depression can be subtle or even confusing. Depression is a biochemical imbalance that affects how people think, how their bodies work and how they act. Sometimes behavior problems, anger and fatigue, aren’t just annoyances, especially with children- they are often signs of a deeper source. You may see signs like: frequent                                                        
anger, crying spells, fighting or withdrawing from                                                             others, poor grades, refusing to go to school,                                                                    irritation, getting into trouble, poor hygiene, abusing                                                       alcohol or drugs as bothersome behaviors- when                                                               often they are signs of depression. People often                                                                believe these behavioral experiences are normal                                                               and will just go away. Clinical depression is not                                                                 okay, and can lead to more serious problems.

When many of these signs are present, treatment options should be considered. Early depression can be evaluated and treated, the earlier- the easier to treat. Options 
can include: individual and family therapy, social support, community support, good nutrition and exercise, medical exam, and medication. 

More information coming...