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Time to talk to kids about terror

July 23, 2016 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

Australian parents are being urged to help their children deal with the proliferation of news and social media coverage of recent terror attacks in France, Turkey and the US.

Triple P – Positive Parenting Program founder Professor Matt Sanders said the popularity of live streaming on sites such as Twitter and Facebook had made it easier for young eyes to unwittingly see graphic images and video, but they may not understand what they see.

“Kids and teenagers react to exposure to traumatic events in different ways,” Prof. Sanders said.

“They might have trouble getting to sleep, suffer nightmares, or act younger – wetting the bed, wanting a comfort toy they had outgrown, or just becoming very clingy is common.

“Some parents report their children become hyper-alert for signs of danger and are more anxious, irritable or sad after being exposed to something traumatic either in real life or through the media.”

Prof. Sanders said there weren’t any hard and fast rules about how long children take to get over traumatic news or events.

“Some children are more vulnerable to distress than others, depending on what else is happening in their life and if they’ve previously experienced some sort of trauma,” he said.

“The key is to have a plan and to create a sense of optimism about our ability to bounce back and deal with situations.

“That includes conveying to your child that you have confidence in their capacity to move on, with time and support if needed.

“Queensland parents who want to know more about raising resilient, confident kids can visit to book into a free seminar or online program.”

Triple P Tips for traumatic times

  • Try to minimise or eliminate exposure to media coverage.
  • Children look to their parents for clues about how to react. If you feel anxious or upset, it’s important not to burden your child with this. Try to get some help and support for yourself.
  • Listen to your child and accept their feelings, though set some limits if you feel it is an almost-constant topic of conversation.
  • In time, most children will recover naturally without extra help, however some children may need some extra post-trauma therapy.

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