Parenting tips to help kids cope

Kids often have many questions and concerns following a tragedy or community violence.

Here are some parenting tips:

Given that every child is a unique creation of God, parents should adjust their responses given each child’s age, developmental level, and personality

a. especially for emotionally sensitive kids prone to worry or sadness

Keep discussions of the details of the tragedy or violence to a minimum. Emphasize the measures taken to restore safety.

a. Minimize exposure to media accounts on tv, radio, electronics, conversations amongst adults

b. Emphasize the bravery of police, fire fighters, soldiers. Note their coordinated efforts.

If your child has questions about the event, answer them honestly, but briefly.

a. Don’t lie, as you want your children to know that they can always trust you.

Pay attention to your child’s feelings in response to the incident. They may feel sad, mad, worried, or confused.

a. Validate these emotions as they are all appropriate under the circumstances.

b. Effectively manage your own reaction as a parent, as your children are taking important cues from you about how to respond.

c. Remember that you set the tone as the parent.

Encourage positive coping skills such as praying, talking, writing, drawing, playing, and exercising.

Children might want to offer to help. Channel their energy in positive ways, such as praying for victims and their families, sending cards of encouragement to those impacted, or donating a portion of their allowance.

Spend time reflecting on Scripture that reassures us that God is still in control, and has good plans for us.

If changes in sleep, appetite, mood, behavior persist, consider consulting a professional such as a counselor or pediatrician for additional guidance.

Sheryl Cowling is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in children, adolescents, trauma, and multicultural counseling.

Scripture comfort in adversity

God is sovereign even in adversity. God is still in control.

John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble.

God doesn’t want us to worry or be afraid. He will help us.

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Philippians 4: 6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Use the help God gives to help others.

Romans 12: 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Sheryl Cowling is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in children, adolescents, trauma, and multicultural counseling.