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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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Helping Your Children Deal With Trauma

October 2001


Children are struggling with the terrorist attacks and the on-going fear as much as we are. Some people want to pretend that our children are not affected, but they are. It is important, as the adults in their lives, that we protect them and let them know that their world is safe. We need to do this even if the world does not feel safe to us.


Some parents have asked me if they should allow their children to watch the on-going coverage. The answer depends on your child. If your children are teenagers, it is appropriate to allow them to watch the news and discuss it with them. If they are younger than six, it is not advisable to let them watch the news. If they are in between, limit the amount that they see. Only allow them to watch the news with an adult present who can help them discuss what they have just seen and help them make sense of it. The little ones are too young to have this make any sense. All it will do is scare them.


It is important to allow your children to talk about this, over and over and over again, in what ever way makes sense for them. Also allow them to not talk if that is what they choose. It is vitally important that you reassure them that we are safe. Keep repeating this. Say it even if you don’t believe it.


Try and keep your routine as normal as possible. This will reassure your children that their world is safe. But along with that, spend some extra family time playing games, hanging out, watching a silly movie.


But most important of all, give lots and lots of hugs.


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