Supporting Children and Families After Tragedy

Post-traumatic stress (recurrent reminders of the event and strong emotional reactions), grief (loss of a loved one), depression (overwhelming sadness, change in mood, sleeping, or eating), and even physical symptoms (headaches or stomachaches) are all possible reactions to the tragedy. 

In addition to post-traumatic stress, teachers may become withdrawn or burned out. Similarly, for young children, a tragic event can disrupt children’s sense of security. Teachers, parents, and caregivers should look out for changes in children’s behavior and mood. Young children can revert to an earlier developmental stage, and they may also have frequent crying spells or become more withdrawn (Osofsky, 2007; Van Der Kolk, 2014). 

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