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Kids and Crisis

June 16th, 2016     By Dan Daly,  Executive Vice President, Director of Youth Care, Boys Town

Anxiety, Kids and Teens in Crisis, Parenting Skills, Stress

For parents of young children, times of crisis — when you can’t seem to turn on a TV or open a web browser without seeing scenes of violence and tragedy — can be extremely difficult. It is impossible to shield your kids from all media. As a result, kids may feel angry, sad, confused or fearful after a public tragedy. Let them know that whatever they are feeling is OK and you are there to help them cope:

  • Let your children know that you love them, and show them physical affection. This closeness can help young ones feel safe.
  • Listen to your children when they want to talk, but don’t force them to discuss their feelings.
  • Address these events with your kids directly, so they aren’t as easily influenced by overheard conversations, which may produce inaccurate mental images and irrational fears.
  • Give kids time to recover and come to terms with the recent events.
  • Monitor kids and take note of changes in sleeping or eating patterns, prolonged distress or depression, and other issues that last two weeks or longer after the event.

In addition, we have compiled a list of resources to help you and your children through this​ difficult time:

  • The Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is staffed by specially trained Boys Town counselors to help those who need support.
  • Boys Town’s parenting experts have put together an article about how to help children cope with the unexpected.
  • Boys Town’s Guide to Parenting Through Crisis is full of useful information and well-researched advice to help you in situations such as these.
  • Your Life Your Voice is a teen-focused website from Boys Town that can help older kids who are having trouble dealing with current events or other issues.
  • Consider limiting kids’ media exposure in general. This short article from the parenting experts at Boys Town gives some helpful hints.

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