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...