Know the signs of RSV
It’s RSV season, and this common virus can be very dangerous for infants.
With a seemingly endless news cycle featuring war, school shootings, extreme weather disasters and other troubling events, children are bound to experience fear, sadness and confusion. Parents and educators sometimes struggle with knowing just what to say, how much to share, and how they can comfort children during these tragic times.
According to Dr. Kelsey Bradshaw, a clinical child psychologist with Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, the exposure to a bombardment of negative news stories, discussions and social media posts can be overwhelming. This can lead to mental health conditions and unhealthy coping behaviors that can affect a young person’s quality of life, including:
Loss of interest in favorite activities
Eating or sleeping more or less than before
Poor concentration or performance in school
Alcohol and drug use
However, the adults in their lives — at home, at school and in the community — can play a critical role in helping children return to normal routines, regain a sense of security, and cope with the overwhelming emotions they may be feeling.
“The children of today are growing up in a much different world, one that includes a rise in school shootings, war and environmental disasters, and that allows for 24-hour immediate access to discussions and details about each event,” Dr. Bradshaw says. “Part of our role as adults is to be available to listen to their concerns, validate the emotions that come up, and help them to work through those emotions in a healthy way.”
10 tips for parents when addressing troubling events
The National Association of School Psychologists, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Psychological Association encourage parents to make the time to talk to children about such tragedies and present information in a direct manner appropriate for their age. They offer the following recommendations for parents and adults looking for ways to start a conversation about challenging topics:
The most important tip is to be open and prepared to talk at any time, Dr. Bradshaw says. Kids don’t always want to sit down for a formal conversation but may hint they’d like to discuss something important during car rides, while preparing dinner or just before bedtime. Let them know you are listening and that all of their feelings are legitimate, even if they differ from your own.
Talk with your child’s doctor if you think your child may need professional help coping with a recent tragedy. Programs such as Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital’s adolescent mental health services specialize in treating children and teens experiencing depression, anxiety, substance use and other disorders.
The Sharp Health News Team are content authors who write and produce stories about Sharp HealthCare and its hospitals, clinics, medical groups and health plan.
How we talk about suicide can reduce the stigma around mental health issues.