For those parents not immediately affected by loss, sharing their emotions can provide important modeling for the expression of painful emotions. However, many younger children (ages 10 and younger) may find this parental display distressful. If children show signs of distress related to parental expression of emotions, parents should reassure their children that, despite their "upsetness," they are fully capable of caring for their kids and that "everything is going to be OK in our family."
Parents should not look to their children, however, as the primary people with whom to discuss their feelings. This should be done with family, friends, or professionals.
Q: How can parents in the New York City or Washington, DC, areas reassure their children?
A: This will be difficult, because we are all a bit shaken now. Parents can't deny the enormity of the recent events, particularly for those of us who live in the cities where they took place. They can, however, point out a few important facts:
- Extreme acts of extreme terrorism are very rare in the United States.
- Efforts are underway to catch the people connected with the terrorism.
- Extra security measures are being taken to increase safety for all of us.
Parents can also assure their children that they are thinking about the family's safety.