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Managing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Managing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The following will be useful to comfort a disturbed child especially after witnessing some tragedy or acts of violence either directly or through television.

We welcome feedback from parents.

  • Safety of family and people you know. Parents should offer immediate reassurance by letting the child know that people closest to him are fine. Even though obvious, count out members of immediate family like –Mother, father, brothers and sisters--are all safe. This is essential even if you are nowhere near the site of the tragedy or act of violence. Child is disturbed as he/she feels this may threaten immediate surroundings. Next, reassure your child about other relatives--Grandma and Granddad, for example. Repeating the list of near and dear ones who are all right will be comforting not only for your child but for you as well. If possible, let the child talk to them on phone.

  • Daily Routine. Maintaining daily routine is the best way to convey to your child that all is fine. If the trouble is away from your locality it is easy but if is too close to home maintaining a routine or at least a semblance of it is important. A regular routine gives children a sense of security.

  • Details of events. It is advisable to turn off the television for the sake of young children, if they are around. It is equally important to catch unfolding events. To balance both, if your children are watching, make sure that you sit with them to help explain what is happening and anticipate and answer their questions. All of us are more able to handle shocking news in print, than television.

  • Security shield. Tell your child that the police, law abiding citizens and the Government are ensuring safety of every one.

  • Positive Thinking. If your child knows that there has been violence or thousands have dies in an earthquake or that a plane has crashed or a building has collapsed, you must reassure him that almost all the planes and buildings are still completely safe. He must be told that such bad events only happen in very few places.

  • Control your emotions. Even very young children are acutely aware of the emotional state of their parents. You don’t have to hide your emotions; It's fine to let your children know that you are upset and sad, but make it clear that you're not upset with them, and try to be as calm and reassuring as possible. A hug at such a time is as comforting for you (knowing that your child is safe in your arms) as it is for your child.

  • Patience. If exposed to a tragedy, you must expect that your children, no matter how young, will show signs of distress—either in the form of fussiness, fear, nightmares, or tantrums. These are normal reactions and you should be ready to deal with them with understanding and patience.

Look after yourself. It's very important to pay attention to your own levels of stress and shock while handling your children. If you feel a physical response to the event like palpitations, heaviness in the chest, sweating etc--these are normal and expectable responses. You must try finding a friend, relative or colleague and talk it out. If required, listen to theirs too. You must get this support for yourself, since this is crucial for you to remain calm.

Please send in real life accounts of how you handled a situation. The best entry will be given books worth 250/-

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