Children should be safe. Their primary jobs include playing and learning, sometimes in very tough environments. A news story of a missing boy or girl makes hearts beat faster with worry. Tragic accidents or intentional cruelty instinctively brings sorrowful or angry emotions to the surface for most of us. At times, however, what happens in view of our children inflicts a hidden trauma, one that can shape their life experiences and determine who they are for years to come. The events of 2020 qualify for both obvious and hidden types of trauma. With citizens in many countries divided on important issues and a pandemic continuing, you may be wondering how you can help your children cope.
Discussing these events and what they mean may be difficult. At all times, reassure your children that you love them and will do everything you can to protect them. Just as you did weeks ago to prepare them for changing conditions related to the pandemic, find out what recommendations exist for reopening plans in your area, including the evolving options for school settings a few months from now. Let them know the situation is still uncertain but that medical professionals are working to bring people through this time safely. Make every effort to provide safe fun and learning experiences.
Changes may continue in other ways. Employment, household circumstances, and social activities may be different for a while. Build resiliency by being honest with your children (in age-appropriate ways) and by letting your own attitude model cooperation and respect. Get help for yourself if you are overwhelmed and help for your children if they need extra support.
Political issues, protests, violence on television and in the neighborhood are not easy for adults to understand and agree on, but do not ignore these issues. They are