Helping kids cope with severe weather tragedy
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The damage from a tornado that ravaged Moore, Okla., on Monday is difficult enough for adults to understand, so imagine the affect it is having on children who now have nothing.
Jim Clark, president and CEO of Daniel Kids, a foundation that helps abandoned and abused children, says parents have a big job ahead of them to help children understand this deadly disaster.
"When disaster and evil happens, it's really important for us to listen to our kids and talk to them," Clark said.
Counselors say in times of disaster, children are good observers but bad interpreters.
"You want to give them some kind of reassurance," Clark said. "You don't want to say this will never happen to you, because we all know natural disasters will happen, but you want to tell them what the plans are."
Experts say letting your child watch a little bit of the news coverage is OK, depending on their age and mental maturity.
Channel 4's Staci Spanos, a mother of two, said she didn't let her children watch any of the news coverage.
"I emailed my husband bright and early this morning. I said, 'Please do not let the children watch the news because I know in the past they saw a tornado here in Florida and they get all worried about it, so they're too young,'" Spanos said.
"You can't shelter them forever, and so you have to prepare them," Clark said. "So I would, yes, limit whatever news you can, but understand once they have that knowledge that's going to create some anxiety."
Another idea to help the healing process is to let your child help the victims.
"Perhaps you take a collection up and you go down to the Red Cross and drop it off," Clark said. "You feel empowered that you are actually doing something rather than just being a victim."
While parents help their children, they need to remember to help themselves. Adults are also grieving and need coping mechanisms as well.
To read more about "Helping Kids Weather the Stress of Storms," click here.
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