Shootings and other traumatic incidents are becoming more common in society. One was once something that only happened in other parts of the world are now happening in America. Shootings at schools or public places create an intense trauma for children. How children are able to cope after a shooting will be pivotal for the rest of their lives. It is crucial to understand the nature of trauma after a public shooting and how to talk to children.
Whether the children or involved or witness it on television or the media, it is crucial as parents, educators and counselors to be able to better help children understand what occurred and how it affects them. It is critical after such an event to ensure the children they are safe. It is important to explain what happened and to be open to any questions. It is as best especially with younger children to try to ensure a continuance of routine but still be open to questions and reassurances of safety.
Many children after such severe traumatic events may exhibit a variety of issues. Some may exhibit irregular sleep patterns and nightmares. Others may exhibit more severe anxiety, or outbursts of emotion ranging from anger to sadness. Others may become more introverted. New fears may also emerge. It is critical for parents and educators to monitor children after a traumatic event to see if any of these issues arise.
The article, “Guide to Coping After Mass Trauma: School Grief Counseling Techniques” from Bradley University looks closer at the symptoms of post trauma as well as immediate aftermath response. The article states,
“The triggering event for trauma may be as widely shared as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or as personal as witnessing or surviving a major traffic accident. Regardless of the source of the trauma, children and adolescents need support and understanding as they work through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.”
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Grief counseling for children is essential for children who face trauma. Some children may require more indepth counseling from Licensed Professional Counselors as well. Trauma scars the mind but with proper guidance and coping methods, children can be guided through the process and find strength and security. Not acknowledging trauma is the worst thing anyone can do. Please also review our Child and Adolescent Grief Counseling Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.