September 11, 2001
MEDIA CONTACT: David Bricker
PHONE: 410-223-1728, pager 410-283-9008
Violence or the threat of violence at home and abroad can cause extreme anxiety in children. Johns Hopkins Children’s Center psychologist John Walkup, M.D., presents the following advice for parents to help children cope with recent terrorism in New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.
- Parents should watch their children’s behavior closely. Children take cues from their parents. If parents show nervousness or anxiety, children may become anxious and nervous themselves. During stressful events, parents should show emotion without losing control of their emotions. Parents should be with their children without smothering them with attention.
- Television sets and radios should not be left on all day, but instead viewed or listened to at selected times with parental supervision. Over-exposure to images of violence or destruction can make events even more difficult for children to deal with.
- Parents should use strong, firm discipline with children who create disturbances in response to what they hear and see in the media.
- Parents should put themselves in a child’s place and try to respond to perceived feelings in addition to the concerns the child is able to verbalize.
- Maintaining the structure of a daily routine is crucial. Eating and bed times remain consistent. Studies have shown that the long-term impact of this kind of trauma can be minimized by continuity and strong family values.
- As a family, draw on religious experience and/or other foundations of community support.