Helping kids cope with traumatic events

By: Chelsea Priest, cpriest@abc6.com

Seeing a movie has always been one the few activities anyone can enjoy. From toddlers to the elderly, there is always something for everyone.

Now after the Colorado movie massacre, some are worried children may have an extra difficult time processing. Dr. Susan Erstling, Family Service of Rhode Islands head of trauma and loss center explains that limiting news coverage exposure to young children is helpful to minimize lasting impacts. She also explains, “with the little ones you want to listen to what they are thinking or what they are saying, or even elicit, what have they seen or who have they talked to about it. Often we don't know what's going on in their heads and they have ideas that we are not even considering at the time. We want to be able to assure them that adults are here to take care of them.”

For the older children, having and open and adult conversation is a good plan.

There are signs your child may not be dealing with the traumatic event, Dr. Erstling says those symptoms include difficulty sleeping, stomach distress, headaches, and irrational or emotional fears. If these symptoms persist for longer than a month, counseling may be beneficial.