Web link: http://www.enc.org/thisweek/news/educationheadlines/0,1456,graphics,00.shtm
Below is a collection of articles designed to help children
*American Psychological Association -- Managing Traumatic
for Recovering From Disasters and Other Traumatic Events
* Education Week -- Schools and Crisis: Selected Resources
* National Association of School Psychologists -- Children
to National Disaster: Information for Parents
* National Association of School Psychologists -- Children
to National Disaster: Information for Teachers
* National Association of School Psychologists -- Helping
Cope With Tuesday's Acts of Terrorism
* National Institute of Mental Health -- Helping Children and
Cope with Violence and Disasters
* National Mental Health and Education Center -- Disaster:
* PBS Kids: Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood -- Helping Children Deal With Scary News -- Thoughts from Fred Rogers http://pbskids.org/rogers/parents/sept11.htm
Source: Netscape Health
Each of us is affected emotionally and physically by the
Trauma experts offer advice on coping with shock, stress and
Links are available to articles on the following topics: Tips to
Stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and Helping Children
Information on donating blood can be found at
Source: Akron Beacon Journal - 12 September 2001
It's a natural instinct for parents to insulate their children
news and danger.
So what's a parent to do when horrific, terrorist acts in this
dominate the news and just about every conversation?
Stay calm and try to answer questions as honestly as possible.
"I think it's good for the children to see the parents are
it and set a good example," said Dr. Pat Firth, division
of pediatric psychiatry for Children's Hospital Medical Center
When tragedies strike, it's even more important than ever for
to spend time with children and tell them they're loved, said
associate director of Child Guidance Centers in Akron. To the
it's possible, be extra available to children.
Some children may have nightmares or problems eating and
they feel "their world is coming to an end,'' Firth said.
them, and allow them to talk about their worries.
Here are other tips for parents offered by Firth and Bender:
* Don't allow children to watch TV news accounts of the
When youngsters do watch TV reports, watch it with them.
* If children want to talk about the news, don't change the
Let them share their worries and concerns.
* Set a good example by praying, giving a donation to victims
blood to help.
* Pay extra attention to children who are more anxious than
* Monitor children who are violence prone. They might be swayed by the news to create their own catastrophes.
Source: WebMD Medical News - 11 September 2001
No form of disaster is harder to deal with than terrorism,
and what occurred this Tuesday takes terrorism to a whole new
But even though we feel helpless, there is a lot we can do for
"We are all totally shocked and confused and feel
can't help thinking, is more going to happen? Is it going to
us or to our family?" says psychiatry professor Syed Arshad
MD. Husain is director of the International Center for
at the University of Missouri. He has personally studied the
aftermath of terrorism at Oklahoma City and of war in Sarajevo,
"From our experience with the Oklahoma City bombing, the trauma
as a result of viewing the gory pictures of destruction caused
damage to more people than the direct impact," Husain tells
"Only a small number of people are directly affected, but after
at the pictures in the paper, secondary trauma was rampant."
"Get out and talk to friends and loved ones," says psychiatrist
Carol S. North. "Just get with people you care about and who
about you. That is a wonderful source of support."
North, associate professor of psychiatry at Washington
of Medicine in St. Louis, has studied more than 2,000 survivors
and terrorist disasters--including the 1995 Oklahoma City
the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
She says that the psychological effects of a disaster radiate
the center in concentric circles. Actual survivors are most
then their families and loved ones, then emergency medical
In the outer circle--but also affected--are those of us who
event on television.
"Share your feelings and reactions, try to process together,
to make meaning," North advises. "Try to get facts and
so that you can draw logical, evidence-based conclusions."
Children are a special concern, warns psychologist Avrum Geurin
PhD. Weiss, a consultant to the Atlanta Veteran's Affairs
psychotherapists how to treat trauma survivors.
"Kids are going to have a lot of fears that parents would never
anticipate," Weiss says. "They will go places where you and
I would never go. They need an atmosphere where they can talk
fears, even if they are not rational. You don't want to say to
is silly, don't worry about that.' They will have all kinds of
They will be scared--and they will see how scared we are as
Like Weiss, Husain emphasizes the need for parents to speak
children. Most important, he says, is for parents to tell their
that they will keep them safe.
"I think parents should tell the children that it is common to
scared and unsafe and sad," Husain says. "They should tell their
children that they, too, are feeling that way--but they are very
that the children are safe and that they will take actions to
Husain advises parents to carefully monitor television and
stories to keep their children from viewing the more violent and
images. But like Weiss, he strongly urges parents to discuss
with their children.
"In these discussions I think the posture should be safety and
and confidence," he says. "Boys and girls will want to know
more about this--who did this and that. There will be lots of
It is important to not become part of the rumors."
North notes that it is normal to react to terror by having
the event pop into one's mind, by not wanting to talk about it,
feeling jumpy and hypervigilant. But people who develop
symptoms tend to be those who talk least about it, and who try
dealing with their feelings.
All of the experts who spoke with WebMD strongly recommend that
get together and talk with one another.
"People should gather in small groups and talk--in
or community centers or places of worship or whatever," Weiss
"Our whole world has just changed."
Source: Family Life Magazine - November 1999
My 7-year-old daughter, Lily, gives every indication of being a
kind of kid, handling the stresses of her young life (entering
is no mean feat) with a grace and equanimity that constantly
me. Still, on those days when my thoughts veer to the future and
difficulties she’s likely to encounter, I can’t help worrying,
especially when I view her through the lens of my own childhood.
When I was 12, my mother died suddenly of cancer--an emotional
didn’t fully recover from for many years. When I became a mother
myself, I was haunted by the fear that my daughter might have to
a similar loss. Like most parents, I wanted to shield my child
But I also wondered if there was any way I could prepare her to
A growing field of research indicates that there is. Over the
or so, psychologists have studied people who suffered childhood
from poverty and illness to abandonment and sexual abuse, and
to the surprise of many, that some people emerge from severe
relatively unscathed. What’s more, these survivors share
traits (see "Can Your Child Bounce Back?") that helped them
navigate the treacherous channels of their childhood. The
those of us in loving, stable families is whether we can teach
children those same traits.
Can We Foster Resilience?
Steven Wolin, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry at George
University, believes that we can. Dr. Wolin, coauthor, with his
Sybil Wolin, Ph.D., of The Resilient Self: How Survivors of
Rise Above Adversity ($23, Villard Books), believes we can help
build "emotional muscles" to help them rebound from hardship.
And we can do this with a few basic parenting tools, including
Wolin, a developmental psychologist with Project Resilience in
DC, calls "modeling"--demonstrating through our own behavior
that "hardships are conquerable, manageable." We accomplish
this when, for instance, we maintain our sense of humor when
running late and stuck in traffic.
In addition, says Ann Masten, Ph.D., director of the University
Institute of Child Development, we can "use the teaching
out appropriate and inappropriate responses to stress in other
we see on the street, in books and movies, even in our own
important, we can encourage the kinds of behavior that build
strength, from independent problem-solving to collaboration.
others in the field also point to certain key actions that we
to help our kids develop the combination of traits collectively
Encourage the Three I’s
Central to the ability to rebound from stress is a sense of
your own life. And what fuels this feeling are the three I’s:
initiative, and insight.
If we want to raise independent children, the first thing we
do is pay less attention to one of the most basic of parental
desire, often finely tuned, to keep our kids out of harm’s way.
don’t want to overprotect your children," says Jerome Kagan,
Ph.D., professor of psychology at Harvard University. "Let them
that it’s okay to climb trees, to engage in rough-and-tumble
And, from an early age, teach them to do things for themselves,
a glass of juice to inviting a friend over for the afternoon to,
on, scouting the library for information about prospective
To encourage initiative--the ability to self-start--Sybil Wolin
letting your children begin to tackle not just everyday tasks
problems as well; instead of telling them what to do, ask them
think should be done (and make sure they follow through).
David Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of social work at The
School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve
this is also a good way to help your kids develop insight--the
to understand why things happen, and how our own actions can
make a difference.
Miller offers the example of a child who’s gotten in trouble at
for fighting at recess or talking back to the teacher. Instead
punishing the child, suggests Miller, sit down with him and,
look at several alternative ways he might have behaved; then let
the behavior that would have led to a better outcome. "This kind
of approach lets children see that they always have choices," he
Miller believes that one of the most important resources for a
facing adversity is the ability to plan. Understanding what it
devise a plan and--this is key--to see it through to fruition
to find practical escape routes from potentially threatening
And seeing oneself as a planner is empowering. You can practice
with your kids in positive situations: Putting together a
say, or organizing a slumber party. Let them put these same
work when real problems arise: If your daughter brings home an
failing grade, for example, let her be the author (with your
of course) of a strategy for bringing her performance in that
up again. If there’s been a fire in your house, let her help you
put some safety measures in place.
In studies of children at risk, faith has repeatedly emerged as
protective factor. This may be the result, says Masten, of the
provided by religious organizations in times of need and the
that many people are connected to religious organizations. More
faith tends to confer a sense of optimism in the future that is
resistant to stress. Of course, the word "faith" generally
to mind organized religion, but it can also mean, in Masten’s
"a sense of meaning and purpose in life." Resilient children
and adults share the belief that they matter, that life matters,
they have the power to make a difference.
The literature of self-help abounds with stories of people who
their own grief by reaching out to others--people like Candy
who established Mothers Against Drunk Driving after the death of
in an alcohol-related accident. Dr. Steven Wolin notes that
too, find solace in helping others. Take advantage of everyday
to promote empathy: Ask your kids if they can imagine being in
of people they see on the news. When you slip a dollar into the
Army kettle, explain why you’re doing it. Let your children see
in the act of helping others--for example, paying a visit to an
neighbor--so they can observe the way these actions lift your
In The Resilient Self, Sybil Wolin calls creativity "the safe
of the imagination"--a place where children (and adults) can
away to find refuge from the emotional storms that rage around
says Wolin, is also a way of rebuilding a shattered world. In
GA, for example, a program called Blues in the School encourages
high-schoolers to heal their troubles through music, by
the blues of their own lives. Parents can apply the same
their own kids, Wolin says. When my daughter was anxious about
ballet recital, I suggested that she sit down and draw two
of her nervous self and the other of the glorious ballerina she
to be. She had great fun sketching out a rubbery, nervous dancer
down-turned mouth and knitted brow, and the twin image --a
ballerina performing a perfect pirouette--which let her see
she could be.
Of all the resources we can muster against despair, humor may
most restorative. What better way to cut a demon down to size
laugh at him? It’s also important, says Dr. Steven Wolin, to be
to poke fun at yourself--something that may not come easily to
6- or 12-year-old. Nevertheless, he advises, it’s a trait that
be taught. Let your child see you make light of your own
better, laugh at something silly the two of you may have done
"Weren’t we dopey to forget to bring along our umbrellas? Now
we look like a couple of drowned rats."
Teach Team Spirit
Kids who can bounce back from adversity understand the power of
they seem to have a natural impulse to "recruit"--to reach out
to others in times of trouble. They also show the ability to
notes Dr. Steven Wolin, in a few very specific ways: Showing
asking questions, and making eye contact. If your child, like
shy around grown-ups, try coaching her before an encounter;
think of a few simple questions she can ask--about family, a
job, a hobby,
or even a pet, for example.
Whatever you do, don’t let your children "tough out" bad
times by themselves; instead, encourage them to come to you and
who can help. Make an effort to foster relationships between
and what Masten calls "a network of caring adults": Relatives,
neighbors, teachers, guidance counselors, clergy, coaches, etc.
sure your kids participate in a positive group activity, like
or team sports.
Finally, don’t forget that family matters--even, says Masten,
the family isn’t around. In the years after my mother’s death,
my brother and sister, along with three doting grandparents,
there for me. And though she’s no longer around, my mother
me with a reservoir of strength and love that I continue to draw
gift of resilience I hope to pass along to my own daughter.
Will Your Child be Able to Bounce Back?
While we can’t exactly predict which children will sail
adversity and which will flounder, we can get a sense of their
to bounce back by checking for certain traits common to adults
rebounded from troubled childhoods. Ask yourself if your child
these traits. (You can also take this quiz to test your own
* Does your child have faith in a higher power, or express
thoughts about the future?
* Is your child able to laugh at himself and his problems or
* Does your child enjoy being creative and have access to
of expressive outlet--be it painting, singing, or building
* Does your child have "emotional intelligence," which is
the ability to solve everyday interpersonal problems in a
* Does your child show a desire for independence?
* Is your child able to connect with adults?
* Does your child have a social conscience (compassion for others in times of trouble)?
Don’t worry if your child exhibits only a few of these traits;
psychologists believe that all of them can be learned. And just
don’t need to excel in every subject to do well in school, they
need to show every marker of resilience in order to bounce back
Source: Tapp Hancock (Gtapphancock@aol.com)
Some people have begun looking for "mathematical" patterns
among the places, people, and events related to the tragedy...
- September 11th is the 254th day of the year: 2 + 5 + 4 = 11
- After September 11th there are 111 days left to the end of the year.
- State of New York - The 11 state added to the Union
- New York City - 11 letters
- The Pentagon - 11 letters
- Twin Towers - standing side by side, look like the number 11
- The first plane to hit the towers was Flight 11
- Flight 11 had 92 passengers on board 9 + 2 = 11
- Flight 77 (7x11) had 65 passengers on board 6 + 5 = 11
COMET is sponsored in part by a grant from the California Mathematics Project.
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