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Is what I'm feeling normal? Helping Children Cope Anniversaries and Trigger Events
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Helping Children and Teens Cope with Trauma
- Be direct, simple, honest and appropriate. Explain truthfully what happened.
- Listen to what the child or teen is feeling or asking you. Then respond according to the child or teen's needs and your own ability.
- Encourage the child or teen to express feelings openly. Crying is normal and helpful. So are feelings of anger.
- Accept the emotions and reactions the child or teen expresses. Don't tell the child or teen how she or he should or should not feel.
- Share your feelings with the child or teen. Allow the child or teen to comfort you.
- Offer warmth and your physical presence and affections.
- Be patient. Know that children or teens need to hear and/or tell "the story" and to ask the same questions again and again.
- Reassure the child or teen that the loss is not contagious; that the death of one person does not mean that another loved one will also die or be injured.
- Maintain order, stability and security in the child or teen's life.
- Take your own advice. Take care of yourself. If you're not okay, the child or teen cannot be okay.
- Many counselors can assist in working through feelings.