Some time ago, I was working with a teenage girl in therapy to address her anxiety and fearfulness, which was impacting her ability to participate in activities outside of her home. Primarily, her anxiety presented as a constant worry that Something bad is going to happen. We had been steadily making progress in therapy as she was learning that the world around her wasn’t always so dangerous, and then our city experienced a traumatic, hate-filled, violent event. The session after that incident in our town, she sat across from me on the couch and asked me a question that struck me and still does to this day, “How can we try to convince ourselves that the world is safe when really it isn’t?” It was a very raw, emotional question, and I was honest with her that day when I replied, “I don’t know.”
I came across this article by Karen Young recently, and I’ve begun using it as a resource with families when addressing this very question with young clients. In her article, “How to Talk to Kids and Teens About World Trauma,” she provides some really helpful points on this subject. She even offers some suggestions for how to handle curiosity, concern, and questions at various developmental ages/stages.
If you’re facing a difficult question or crisis with your child about a traumatic world event and their concern about their own safety and security, I hope this article is as helpful for you as it was for me. You can check it out here: https://www.heysigmund.com/how-to-talk-to-kids-and-teens-about-world-trauma/?fbclid=IwAR3Hm1Ovq4NzGWMSsmh3Yq37MAOFGznKfCx59ESoEZQOP99RbNHP2Vqxgmw