SEPTEMBER 11TH COMMEMORATION
GUIDELINES FOR FAMILIES
Shortly after school starts, we will experience
one year since the traumatic events of September 11, 2001. The
entire country will pause and reflect on that day, about the lives
lost and the unselfish acts of heroism so many Americans displayed.
Although the intensity of memories has eased over time, some adults
and children may re experience many of the same thoughts and feelings
that they felt a year ago. The New Jersey Traumatic Loss Coalitions
for Youth Program has prepared the following information to help
you recognize and deal with the possible normal reactions
in your children:
- No reaction not everyone will react
at the one year mark
- Isolation, sadness or anger
- Aggression or oppositional behavior
- Sleep difficulties, stomach upset, racing heart,
- Fear, worry, helplessness, sadness
- Inability to focus and concentrate
- Tendency to cling to a parent or revert to
- Loss of meaning in life and/or feelings of
despair in older children
Adults need to be tolerant of childrens
behavior and explain that it is OK to be upset or disturbed. If
you think that your childs reaction is more extreme or persistent,
an evaluation by a professional can be considered. Most
children may be helped during this time by extra parental support
Some of the following suggestions may be helpful:
- Limit your childs exposure to media reports
especially graphic images.
- Maintain normal daily routines to provide a
sense of safety and security.
- Check with your childs school regarding
plans for commemorating September 11 and voice any concerns
that you may have.
- Attend commemorations that focus on healing
and hope for the future (Consider the event, a childs
age and their desire to attend).
- Talk to your child and listen for underlying
feelings of fear and helplessness.
- Assure them that the adults in their lives
are doing everything in their power to make sure their homes
and schools are safe.
- Focus on the good that has emerged from this
very tragic event, i.e. the unselfish way in which many people
responded to help others. This will reassure your child about
the goodness that still exists in the world.
Be mindful of your own reactions. You also have
been affected. Discuss your feelings and concerns with other supportive
adults. It is important to limit your media exposure. Practice
good physical care including: Eat right, get enough rest, exercise
and practice relaxation techniques. Your sense of calm will be
transmitted to your child.
For more information call Project Phoenix 1-877-294-4357.