When You… Feel Sad and Scared About World Events
Q&A | Open Door for Parents With Dr. Eileen
Q: I feel overwhelmingly sad and scared and furious reading about the Uvalde shooting. I can’t even imagine the agony of the families who lost a child in this senseless act of violence! My kids have active shooter lockdown drills in their school. It makes me sick to my stomach that that’s a thing! How do I make sense of all of this for my children when it makes no sense to me?
The Uvalde shooting is so heart-breaking! The again-ness of this incident makes it even harder to bear.
I don’t think you have to make sense of it for your children because it doesn’t make sense.
What you can do is create room for your children to talk about their feelings and let them see some of yours.
It’s a good idea to ask your child, “What have you heard?” You may be able to correct some misunderstandings or incorrect information.
Consider the vividness of what you share with your child. Just hearing about a scary event from a caring adult is less vivid than reading a detailed account or seeing a picture of it, which is less vivid than seeing video coverage of sobbing family members. Use your judgement about what your child can handle.
You may want to remind your child that school shootings are horrible tragedies but they are extremely rare.
Follow your child’s lead about how much they want to talk about things. If they’d rather put it aside, that’s OK. It doesn’t mean they’re unfeeling. It may be more than they can process right now.
If they see you crying, explain, “I feel so sad for the families who lost a child.” Naming your feelings makes them more understandable for your child. You may want to add, “It’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. Right now, my heart is hurting for the children and families in Uvalde,” or “I’m sad, and I’m OK, at the same time. Tears mean I’m feeling something deeply, right now.”
Most of us feel better when we can take action about a problem. See if you can find a child-size way for your kids to do something helpful and/or tell them what you’ll be doing.
Talk about courage and faith. We’d all like a guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen to our loved ones, but we don’t get that. Even getting out of bed in the morning is an act of courage because we have to tolerate the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen.
What we can hold onto is two beliefs:
1) There’s more good than bad in life and
2) We get through the bad with the help of people who love us.
UP-COMING ONLINE EVENTS
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* Friendship Challenges of Kids with ADHD (Conversation Hour)
Wednesday, June 22 @ 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm (Eastern US time)
For children, the most difficult part of having ADHD is often the social challenges it creates. They often have hearts of gold, but their impulsiveness and lack of awareness of social cues can get in the way of making and keeping friends. Join Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore for an informal question and answer session about practical ways to help your child with ADHD navigate the social world.
* Social and Emotional Challenges of Gifted Kids (Conversation Hour)
LIVE online conversation hour: Wednesday, July 27, 8:30 pm (Easter US time) Gifted kids sometimes struggle with challenges such as perfectionism, emotional intensity, dealing with authority, and difficulties connecting with peers. Join Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore for an informal Q&A session about how to best support these children.
Books for Parents and Kids
Here’s a short video of me on Good Day Philadelphia, talking about Moody Moody Cars, plus some adorable kids’ reactions to the book.
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