PART 1 of 10:
Do not be afraid to talk about the traumatic event. Children do not benefit from ‘not thinking about it’ or ‘putting it out of their minds.’ If a child senses that her caregivers are upset about the event, she will not bring it up. In the long run, this only makes the child’s recovery more difficult. A good rule of thumb is to let the child guide when you talk about it. If the child doesn’t ask about or mention it, don’t bring it up on your own, but when the child brings it up or seems to be thinking about it, don’t avoid discussion. Listen to the child, answer questions, and provide comfort and support. We often have no adequate explanations about senseless death or traumatic events. It is just fine to tell children that you do not know why something happened or that you get confused and upset by it, too. In the end, listening and comforting a child without avoiding or over-reacting will have long-lasting positive effects on the child’s ability to cope with trauma.