An offer from specialists in communication between children and parents after an earthquake

SAFAKNA TURKEY – The earthquake, which affected 10 provinces centered in Kahramanmaras, filled the whole of Turkey with anxiety and sadness. Trying to heal the wounds, D. Ps. Zeynep Burku Eriki shared information that will help parents communicate with their children after the earthquake.

Eriki explained how this situation should be explained to preschoolers and younger students. Eriki said, “No matter how careful you are and keep them away from social media and TV, kids will be aware of the situation when they interact. “Schools will open on Monday. How are you feeling? Some of your friends may be upset that there has been an earthquake in some parts of our country. Your friends who have acquaintances may be a little worried about them.

Do you want me to explain what an earthquake means? you can say. If he asks you to explain: “An earthquake is a natural phenomenon, like rain or thunder, but less frequent. In fact, underground there are stones that we step on, grass and earth. From time to time these stones may slip, the ground may shake a little. When the world shakes, we shake, and so do our things. And then the shaking stops. These are all natural processes. But don’t worry, we’re safe. If something like this happens, mom / dad and I will be there. While making all these statements, it is important to hug and touch physically as much as possible.

Eriki listed his other suggestions as follows:

“Such complex events and strong emotions can cause children to exhibit behaviors that are at younger stages of development than their age. For example, he may want to sleep with you. You may worry that “he will get used to it or always wants it”, but during this period, these needs of children should be met in order to feel safe again. When this need is satisfied, the process will eventually end automatically. Children reflect their experiences and emotions in the game.

At times like these, it is more important than ever to give children the opportunity to play, play with them, take on the roles they give, and play games that meet their motor needs. Materials such as modeling dough and clay can help regulate emotions. Don’t worry if they play earthquake games or make pictures. These are children’s ways of expressing and coping with their emotions. Because disrupting children’s daily routines will negatively impact their sense of security, it is important to restore daily routines as much as possible.

The main fear of anxious and frightened children is earthquakes. However, this point can expand if we do not approach it sensitively. For example, if a child who has completed the orientation normally has difficulty leaving the family and coming to school, one should treat him with compassion and patience, as in the beginning of the orientation.”

Emphasizing that one of the biggest needs of teenagers during this period is to have someone who understands and listens to them, Eriki talked about what parents who have children in their teens should do. Eriki says: “You can ask them to take a break from social media and refer them to volunteer work or organizations instead.

Participating in this kind of volunteer work will also help them manage their emotions. Feel free to talk about overpowering feelings when interacting with a teenager. ‘What do you feel? I know you’re scared, you’re sad. We were all scared. We are all very sorry about what happened. How can I help you? You can help him express his feelings with sentences like “don’t worry, we’ll get through this.”

Physical contact, such as a light tap on his shoulder, is also fine if he allows it during the chat. In fact, the basic need of all children is the need to feel safe again. For this reason, while having these conversations with our children, we need to have some balance in order to fulfill our role as parents, even if it is emotionally difficult.

When you experience very strong emotions, say, “I am now in a safe environment. Yes, I am very sorry about what happened, but the fact that my mind fell into a state of anxiety has nothing to do with reality. You can immerse yourself in reality through internal conversations such as “I feel this way because of the images and news I’ve been exposed to.”

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