Helping Your Children Cope with Societal Trauma

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

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Driving across the country in a pandemic – Harvard Health Blog

Thinking about traveling during the pandemic? Before heading out, there’s a lot to think about, including:

  • Do you have risk factors for severe COVID-19, such as advanced age or chronic medical conditions?
  • What about your co-travelers’ health and risk factors? Are your co-travelers part of your household or tight social circle?
  • Is the virus spreading in the places you’re going?
  • Who are you going to see along the way, and what’s their health risk profile?
  • If you get sick while traveling, will healthcare be available? And do you have the supports you need in case you have to quarantine for two weeks when you return home — or in a state you’ll be staying in?

Depending on your answers, you might decide it’s better to stay home! Or you may decide the risks are acceptable given some preparation and precautions, as we recently did.

Fly or drive?

“Please be careful when you drive out of the airport today, as you begin the most dangerous part of your trip.” Ever hear a flight attendant say that when your plane lands? It suggests that driving is riskier than the flight you just took. And the statistics support that.

But this may not be true during a pandemic. Tight seating and exposure to lots of people whose behavior you can’t control might be riskier than driving between cities. For many, driving may be safer than flying precisely because you have more control over potentially risky exposures.

We just drove from Denver to Boston. We chose to drive rather than fly because we’d be traveling with our large dog. Yes, he could have traveled in the cargo hold, but let’s just say that option was vetoed. Having just made the reverse trip from Boston to Denver in January, right before the pandemic began,

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