Tsunamis, Storms, and Accidents – Oh My!

You wish that everyday of your child’s life could be happy and wonderful and free of anything stressful.  You try your best to shelter your child from every harm imaginable…but then the unexpected happens.  Whether it’s a devastating tsunami that happens across the globe (our love to Japan!), a series of storms that are threatening your area, or a car accident on your way home…  these events can have a deep impact on your family and the emotional growth of your child.  How do you help your child cope with these traumatic events?  This shrink candy is one to hold close.

According to the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,

your reaction to a traumatic event influences how your child will react.

So, whatever the issue is, your child looks to you to figure out if he should feel scared, angry, or sad. Your child will mimic your emotions and your behavior.  If your child sees you become afraid of being separated from him or her, your child will feel scared when it’s time to go to school and leave your side. If your child hears you talking about how afraid you are of another storm, your child won’t feel safe either. On the other hand, if you put on a bold face and provide a supportive outlook on the issue, your child will adopt the same attitude.

Remember to pay attention to your reaction during unexpected events in life.  Through your own actions – through your comforting words, through your hugs and shows of love – you can help your child feel that the world is still a safe place to be.


  • Predicting Children’s Reactions to Terrorist Attacks: The Importance of Self-Reports and Preexisting Characteristics. By Hock, Ellen; Hart, Margaret; Kang, Min Ju; Lutz, Wilma J.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 74(3), Jul 2004, 253-262.

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