Moomah the Magazine
After the Storm

After the Storm

By Dr. Anne-Marie Albano

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy many families are dealing with loss of their homes and all their personal belongings.  Others still do not have electricity, heat or hot water and are worrying day to day about how to keep warm, to eat, and be safe.  You’ve seen the news reports and photos that show their struggles and cries for help.  You’ve seen them, and so have your children.  And so, the questions begin:  “Mom, what’s going to happen to those people?”  “Dad, are we going to lose our house?”  “Are the children able to go to school?”  “I would cry every day if my house was flooded.”

Fear and sorrow follow tragedies such as Sandy, not just to the victims of the storm but to their neighbors and friends.  Children view the world as their backyard, and even though they’ve not met the child in the news story, she may as well be a classmate.  Fear of “this could happen to us” and “what will happen to those families?” are driven by a sense of helplessness and being unable to predict what comes next.  Giving your child real facts, about how you prepared for the storm and why certain areas were more vulnerable will help them to understand and feel a sense of control and safety. And, as a parent you can step in and help your child take control and make a difference for others, and in the process, heal her own worries about the storm.

Finding a way to help—to make a difference to those who are suffering---empowers a child.  Like adults, children can make a tangible difference in relief efforts.  Whether raising money through a bake sale or collecting donations of toys or clothes for displaced children, your child will be contributing to efforts to heal and help. Younger children can become part of healing process by sending notes or artwork to classes in affected areas. Healing involves knowing that you’re not forgotten and that others are pulling for you, so every effort has its role in helping to heal. Through her efforts, your child can also start to heal from the fear and sadness that we all experience when witnessing the distress of others.  She will see herself as part of a larger world pulling together to help and she’ll learn a lesson about pitching in when needed.  And, she’ll learn a great lesson in resiliency….that pulling together and reaching out to others helps in problem solving and moving forward.

Posted in: Parenting   

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