Navigation Links
For Kids, Natural Disasters Can Whip Up Worries
Date:8/29/2011

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Floods. Tornadoes. Tsunamis. Terrorism. War. Predictions of Rapture and Armageddon.

Current events have left adults reeling as one disaster seems to come hot on the heels of the last with no relent and no apparent end in sight.

Imagine, then, how kids are coping.

"For kids who are worriers, they see this stuff is everywhere," said Robin Goodman, a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City and a member of the American Psychological Association. "They think, 'It can happen to anyone. We could be next.'"

Experts say parents need to be aware of the effect that the daily drumbeat of disaster, natural or otherwise, can have on children's sense of security and well-being, and be ready to support kids who need help understanding how these events affect them.

Kids who have grown up in today's media-saturated environment are more prone to be affected by news of disaster, said Todd Walker, a psychologist in private practice in Cincinnati and a member of the clinical faculty of the Wright State University School of Professional Psychology.

"Even more now than in previous generations, there's less of a distinction between real life and what you see on TV," Walker said. "In this day and age, watching things online or on TV is just one step removed from the event itself."

This may be particularly true for preschool children, who aren't yet media-savvy. "Young kids don't understand that it's the same newsreel over and over," Goodman said of day-long coverage of a particular event. "They think it's the same event occurring over and over."

The effect of disaster coverage can be compounded for children who are undergoing emotional trauma in their daily life, Walker said. For example, kids whose parents are fighting and about to divorce are much more likely to be affected by news coverage before, during and after a hurricane or earthquake, like that experienced in the eastern United States in the past week.

"At best, it would be, 'Uh oh, this could happen to us,'" he said. "But let's imagine we're kids: I'm 6 and you're 8, we don't know what is exactly going to happen with our parents and we're watching [a disaster unfolding] on TV. Our experience will be different than if we had a happy family life."

Walker and Goodman said the best thing parents can do to reassure their children is to talk with them about the disaster coverage in an honest and straightforward way.

"I always believe in asking, 'Hey, I saw you watching that show. What's that like for you?'" Walker said.

Parents may feel the need to hide their own feelings of anxiety to better protect their kids, but Walker and Goodman cautioned against that.

"Be honest in the communication as much as possible," Goodman said. "If you lie about it, they may feel they can't trust you."

It's better for parents to admit they're nervous, but then reassure the child that everything will be all right, Walker said. Give concrete examples of why the disaster couldn't happen to them or lay out the steps you'll take to keep them safe if, in fact, the possibility exists.

Other tips for helping kids cope with news of disasters, according to Walker and Goodman, include:

  • Limit the children's exposure to media, and consider cutting back yourself. "Don't be checking the news all the time," Goodman said.
  • Keep to a daily routine because that reinforces the understanding that life continues to be normal.
  • Avoid whispering with other adults about the disaster. Kids may think the whispered conversation is about them.
  • Point out hopeful stories that come out of the disaster, and note the fact that agencies like the American Red Cross are on the scene to help out.
  • Consider volunteering or donating to relief efforts with your children so they'll feel that they're making a contribution.

But also keep in mind that all kids are different. Some kids might actually benefit from watching disaster coverage.

"Sometimes TV can create a bonding experience," Walker said, using the example of a young boy. "He sees somebody going through a disaster and it can actually be calming because he knows he's not the only person going through a rough time."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Child Health & Human Development has more about helping kids cope with crises.

SOURCES: Robin Goodman, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, New York City; Todd Walker, Psy.D., psychologist, Cincinnati, and clinical faculty member, School of Professional Psychology, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. When Seniors Tutor Kids, They Sharpen Their Own Minds As Well
2. Launch of New Book, What to Do for Heavy Kids, Coincides with First Lady's Campaign to Fight Childhood Obesity
3. Science Says Flavored Milk is Good for Kids, Unlike Soda
4. Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
5. For Autistic Kids, IQ May Not Predict School Achievement
6. Most Parents Vaccinate Kids, Trust Docs Advice on Shots
7. Football Legend Steve Young Urges Kids, Parents to Play It Safe
8. Low levels of natural antibodies behind stroke
9. Whitemark Homes, Inc. Announces Corporate Update on Merger With Ribbon Naturals Corp.
10. Foamsource Introduces Natural Slumber 100% Natural Latex Mattresses & Toppers with Free Shipping
11. ThermaSkin Offers Free Natural Pepper Remedy To Acne Sufferers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
For Kids, Natural Disasters Can Whip Up Worries
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission ... lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” ... the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and ... apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans ... frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( https://isocomforter.com ... introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad ... comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... system that we intend to develop to enable prevention of a major side ... severe hearing loss, especially in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... Leading pediatric oncology experts at Children’s National Health ... Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Oct. 12-15. Chaired ... Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National, and Stephen P. Hunger, M.D., Chief ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/27/2017)... MIAMI , Sept. 27, 2017  Commended for their ... recent notable awards. Ranked as number one in the South ... ninth time in Inc. 5000 yearly list, the national specialty ... CEO, Armando Bardisa will soon be honored by ... Set to receive his award ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... , Sept. 25, 2017   Montrium , ... File solutions, today—from the IQPC Trial Master Files ... , NL)—announced that EastHORN Clinical Services has selected ... programs and TMF management. EastHORN, a leading European ... platform to increase transparency to enable greater collaboration ...
(Date:9/23/2017)... HORSHAM, Pa. , Sept. 22, 2017 ... received a complete response letter from the U.S. Food ... (BLA) seeking approval of sirukumab for the treatment of ... response letter indicates additional clinical data are needed to ... of moderately to severely active RA. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: