Supporting children after terrorist attacks

“Terrorism is as old as history and almost certainly older. In 68 B.C., for instance, the Roman city of Ostia, a vital port for one of the world’s earliest superpowers, was set on fire by a band of thugs. They destroyed the consular war fleet and, rather embarrassingly, kidnapped two leading senators. Panic ensued—the same panic that has now been recapitulated down the centuries, courtesy of such terror groups as the Irish Republican Army, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the African National Congress, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, al Qaeda and, most recently, ISIS.” The Scientific American Mind May/June 2016

As residents of the West Coast of the United States, our family watched the attacks unfolding on the East Coast on 9/11 as we were getting ready for work and school early that morning.  As we sat around the television with our teenage sons watching the news coverage, it was clear we were witnessing a life changing event.  We discussed what we remembered as younger children with the assassination of John F. Kennedy and five years later Martin Luther King, Jr.

Provide coping strategies to support children:

  • Model expressing how you are feeling about the attack
  • Share what you have seen, heard or experienced so they feel free to do the same
  • Assure them you will take care of them
  • Instill a sense of empowerment

To repeat from earlier this week, limit you and your children’s exposure to media coverage of terrorist attacks.

 

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