In the June 16 Our Sunday Visitor webinar “Helping Kids Cope with Acts of Terror, Tragedy and Disaster,” Family Psychologist and Our Sunday Visitor National Catechetical Consultant, Dr. Joseph White, gave the following suggestions:
There has been a dramatic change in how (and how often) the news is reported. Be intentional about how information about world events is conveyed to your children.
Let children know that such violent events are rare, and that you are working to keep them safe. . . . Tell them you know what to watch for when you are in large gatherings and public places, and that’s one reason why you want them to stay close by, where you can see them.
Watch for anxiety
If your child expresses extreme and atypical fears about separating from you, frequent nightmares or physical symptoms of stress, like headaches, stomachaches and difficulty sleeping, it may be advisable to speak with a child psychologist or counselor about working on coping skills you or the counselor could teach your child to better manage his or her anxiety.
Christ calls each of us to follow his example, loving others as he has loved us. Teach them how to be accepting of differences and find common ground. Coach them through conflicts with siblings and peers so they can learn effective ways to solve problems and get along with others.
Sometimes children (and adults) ask why God allows terrorist attacks and other tragedies. While this is difficult to understand, one thing we can know is that God is always near to people who are suffering. . . . We must never become callous or desensitized to acts of violence in our world, but instead we should ask ourselves, “How can we help?”
Let us turn to God and work together with God to build a world where all can live in safety and peace.
Click here to read more about Dr. Joseph D. White’s advice.
Click here to watch a video of the webinar.
Dr. White opened the webinar with this prayer.
Let Us Pray:
For those who have died -- that God will welcome them into eternal rest in his kingdom.
For those who are recovering from injuries -- that God will comfort them and grant them healing.
For family and friends of victims -- that they will be assured of God’s presence and love as they mourn their loved ones.
For the people of Orlando -- that they may come together in unity and solidarity as one community.
For the first responders, health care professionals and city officials -- that God will grant them wisdom and strength as they care for victims and those in mourning.
For the United States -- that our country may find safety and peace.
For the Church -- that as disciples of Jesus, we may show kindness and mercy to all.
We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.