In this episode Jake discusses the Six Do’s and Don’ts of talking about trauma and tragedy. These do’s and don’ts can be used when talking to children and adults.

Tragedies affect everyone, both children, and adults. Children need to talk about their fears, frustration, and disbelief. It is important that we are watchful for these emotions and encourages open discussions.

Unfortunately over the past few years, we have been exposed to numerous mass killings that have been disturbing and heartbreaking for all of us. Images in the media and discussions around the world can be quite alarming for our kids. It is imperative that we recognize these events and explain what has happened.

When a tragedy such as a natural disaster, mass shooting or terrorist attack occurs, it can be hard to talk to your child about what happened. How do you explain it? How much will he or she understand? Find out how to start the conversation and what you can do to help your child cope. Tell the truth. Focus on the basics, and avoid sharing unnecessary details. Don’t exaggerate or speculate about what might happen. Avoid dwelling on the scale or scope of the tragedy.

Vicarious trauma, or compassion fatigue, affects people who work with catastrophe victims. Even watching the news on television can cause symptoms of stress. Research suggests that following such events on social media can lead to many of the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. The event itself only happens once, but media coverage can make it feel like the catastrophe is happening over and over again.

Focus on the good in the world. Tough times can be a reminder for us to cherish our family and loved ones each day.

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