Letter: Ways to cope with tragic news


With the recent tragedy in Connecticut, many of us are feeling the impact, as we question the safety of our children and loved ones.

When a traumatic event occurs, we tend to become overwhelmed with a variety of emotions, including sadness, grief, helplessness and anxiety. In the aftermath of any trauma, there are certain strategies that can be helpful in moving forward:

Provide reassurance of safety to children

Limit media exposure of the event for yourself and your child

In the weeks following a trauma, such as the shooting, children may have difficulty concentrating and remaining focused on their schoolwork.

Young children may regress in their behavior, as they need reassurance that they are safe. Even older children may want to remain at home and appear clingy around their parents, as they too need to know that they will be all right. Be patient, as these behaviors should lessen within a few weeks after a traumatic event.

Parents should model healthy coping skills in a manner that is age appropriate for the child, expressing empathy for the victims and their families and identifying positive aspects about the event, such as the quick response by teachers and police officers.

If your reactions or your child's reactions to a traumatic event interfere with daily functioning, seeking professional help by a licensed therapist who specializes in the treatment of trauma is highly recommended.

Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland is a private, non-profit agency that has been serving central Maryland for the past 163 years and Harford County for the past 50 years. FCS is one of central Maryland's leading providers of trauma-based treatment. If you or a loved one is having difficulty moving forward after this recent tragedy or a prior trauma, please feel free to check out our website at http://www.fcsmd.org.

Jennifer Redding, LCSW-C

Director of Trauma Services

Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland

Bel Air

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