Helping Kids Who Witness Trauma

May 5, 2014

If your kids were at Sunday's Ringling Bros. circus performance in Providence, they might be asking some tough questions now or needing comfort and reassurance. Or it might be too soon to tell how witnessing something so traumatic has affected them. Either way, it can be tough to know what to say, to balance the truth about life - that bad things can happen to anyone without warning - with the protection kids sometimes need from the world's harshest realities.

So, here are a few resources to help. These aren't necessarily endorsements, just what I hope is a helpful round up of suggestions, a place to start.

- Family Service of Rhode Island is making counselors available. They ask you to: "Please call 401-331-1350 and ask for 'Intake.'" There are some other tip sheets and resources on their web site.

- From Common Sense Media (a nonpartisan nonprofit that helps parents and kids navigate media), there's this list of tips about talking to your kids about the news, especially scary news. Might be useful in this instance, perhaps for kids who weren't there but heard about it or watched the video.

- From the National Association of School Psychologists, try this tip sheet on "managing strong emotional reactions to traumatic events."