How To Be With Your Child During Tough Situations Such As The Australian Bushfires
Children can be hit hardest by traumatic experiences, such as from the recent wildfires in Australia. Learn how you can help your child deal with it.
Wildfires have shaken the whole of Australia, but the state of New South Wales (NSW) in particular has been hit the hardest.
More than 100 fires are still burning in NSW alone.
The fire season had begun since late July in Australia. While fires occur yearly in Australia due to the hot and dry summer season, this is said to be one of the “worst wildfires seen in decades” with more than 2,000 homes left in ruins.
At least 24 people nationwide and millions of animals have lost their lives to the fires since September, according to another report from the BBC.
Urban cities, National Parks like the Blue Mountains, amongst others have been affected with “thick plumes of smoke” that blanketed the urban centre. The air quality in Sydney was measured 11 times the “hazardous” level earlier in December.
And these vicious fires are not dying down anytime soon. Temperatures are “likely to soar again on Friday”, according to the same report. And many across the world are attributing it to climate change.
According to the American Psychological Association, a traumatic event includes sexual abuse, acts of terrorism, motor vehicle accidents, natural and human-made disasters, amongst others.
Adults feel the impact of such experiences, and it affects children even more as they have yet to be equipped with internalising what they see. As a result, they might succumb to deeper feelings of “anxiety, stress and sadness” as compared to adults.
Even being a witness to a traumatic event can also be distressing for children, seeing their loved ones’ lives being threatened. To children, they are “attachment figures” whom their safety is dependent on.
Children know much more than we think they do, even though they might not comprehend it fully.
They have a right to the truth, and parents hold the responsibility to inform, educate and provide a safe environment for their children.
Protip: It helps to use age-appropriate language with your child. Always be mindful of any changes to your child’s reactions.
Protip: Remember to send lots of hugs and kisses!
Source: CNN, BBC, APA