As a parent, you want to protect your kids from harm and keep them safe, right? But life rarely goes according to plans. A terror attack is the worst thing your child may go through because it can have a profound impact on their mental health and well-being. Let’s consider the statistics for the 9/11 attack- almost all the victims suffer from PTSD even years after the event. That’s gross!
Is there a way to prevent a terror attack? No, but there are definitely ways to minimize the impact. The best you can do as a parent is to know the strategies to support your child in the aftermath of such an event. It can be hard to understand what to say or do when your child is struggling, but you can do your bit with the right approach.
So moms and dads, here are a few valuable tips to help your kids cope with the repercussions of a traumatic terror attack event. Let’s get started!
Create a secure environment
Life often turns upside down for terror attack victims, and the situation is worse for young minds. Victims relive the moments again, get nightmares, and fear another attack every time they step out. But you must ensure that your kid doesn’t carry the baggage for a lifetime.
The best way to start is by creating a secure environment for them. Begin by making them feel safe at home with measures like installing a security system. Check-in with them often to help them feel safe at school. Turning off the news and reducing exposure to disturbing images also helps.
Help your child process their negative emotions
Negative emotions like fear, stress, and pain are normal for terror attack victims. Coping with the flood of emotions is perhaps the most challenging part of the healing journey for your kids. Look for ways to help them process these negative feelings in a healthy way.
You can do it by engaging in activities promoting emotional healing, such as drawing, journaling, and mindfulness exercises. The sooner they release these emotions, the better they feel.
Encourage open communication
Encouraging open communication is another effective way to help your child deal with the aftermath of a terror attack. Talking about their feelings and emotions is also a healthy release. Let them know nothing is wrong with feeling scared, angry, or sad.
Also, convey that you are always there to listen and support them. They may be adamant about opening up right after the event, so don’t force them into it. Give them time and space to deal with their emotions, and ensure they know that you’re available!
Well, this may not seem to have much to do with supporting your child’s healing after a terror attack. But it can make all the difference when they suffer from a severe injury or illness following toxin exposure. The 9/11 attack is a classic instance where many victims ended up with cancer and respiratory illnesses due to exposure to harsh toxins in the air.
The silver lining is that victims can claim legal compensation for their suffering under the Zadroga Act. But you must understand the role of 9/11 lawyers in maximizing the claim. Once you get the compensation your child deserves, you can focus on providing them with the best medical treatment.
You will probably miss out on self-care when your attention is entirely on the well-being of your kids. But you deserve a fair share, considering the emotional burden of supporting a child going through a traumatic transition.
It ensures good mental health and helps you be a better parent in tough times. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise daily, and engage in activities that bring you joy. Invest in a self-care plan covering everyone in your family.
Know when to seek professional help
Accept it, terror attack victims cannot heal alone. Most of them need professional help, so you must recognize the need and get it sooner than later. If your child struggles with post-traumatic stress symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, or anxiety, see a therapist or counselor right away.
They can help your child develop coping strategies that work for them. Don’t hesitate or wait for things to resolve on their own.
Supporting your child after a traumatic terror attack is not easy, so don’t expect shortcuts. Remember, every child is different, and coping with trauma takes more than a one-size-fits-all approach. But these best practices can give you a head-start with helping your child heal and move forward.