Coping with the Current Violence
Specialists at Schneider Children's have issued recommendations about coping with anxiety in children due to the current wave of violence.
Dani Lotan, Director of the Anxiety Clinic in the Psychological Medicine Department, notes that in general, it is important to emphasize that the sense of fear is normal in this situation and when parents show confidence and control in times of tension, most children will accept this with understanding. In addition, Lotan advises:
Allow children to ask questions and talk about their fears
Tell them that questions and fear are legitimate at this time and show them that you are not stressed by the situation. Children notice the parent's tone more than they do the actual words.
Avoid constant attention to news broadcasts
Since we are inundated with reports on the internet, cellphone, television and radio, it is important not to overwhelm children with endless news, pictures and commentaries. Of course, we should not hide the situation from them, but try to avoid ongoing exposure to worrying news and reports in the media.
In sharing information, it is inadvisable to say there is no danger or that everything will be absolutely fine, rather show that all necessary actions have been taken to deal with the current situation, and that the security services are handling it and making the proper decisions. If the child is especially stressed, do not be shocked and try to calm him incessantly, because this can cause increased pressure. Explain that at the moment, everyone is feeling a certain degree of tension and that the situation is constantly being assessed by the parent and the appropriate parties.
Maintain normal routines based on your assessment
It is very important to promote normal routines. If the child asks to limit activities or for instance not go to a particular activity, try to prevent this. You might tell the child that it is okay for him to be afraid, but we cannot cancel anything because of the situation and not allow anxiety to control our lives. You can promise to be available on the cellphone or accompany him to and from an activity, but try to maintain normal daily routines.