Before writing this post, I checked to see where Irma is now. I heard this is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic. It will soon be hitting several islands. This while just beginning the rebuilding after Harvey.
We already have thousands of people traumatized by the loss of their homes, their jobs, and in some cases family members. Not the least of these is children, children ripped from their homes and schools in little boats with strangers. Children waking up to a sea of water where their playground use to be. Hopefully they had time to bring their favorite toy, the one they sleep with. They don’t understand, and they are afraid. They may not show it, but their parents are traumatized too. Children know when their parents are scared.
What can be done?
Authorities say it may be months or longer before the families can get back in their homes, so people need emotional help.
I hope there will be counselors, but certainly not enough for everyone who needs it. Parents, you can help.
Take care of your own trauma
This involves finding a place to live and providing as much normalcy as possible.
Talk about your emotions.
Let yourself feel them.
Recognize the anger.
Then release it. (See the previous post on Anger, What Do I Do About It?)
If you don’t release it, it will make it harder on you and your family.
This is a natural disaster.
Maybe there were some things authorities could have done better, but that is hindsight. It can’t be changed.
Whatever you do, don’t take it out on your children.
How to Help Your Children
First reassure them you love them.
Reassure them they will be taken care of.
Allow them to regress for a time.
They may need to return to the coping mechanisms they used at a younger age.
That is normal for a while.
Try to limit exposure to TV to keep them from being re-traumatized.
If they are old enough to understand, tell them what happened at a level they can grasp.
Allow trauma-related play, but supervise to keep it from getting out of hand.
As much as time allows, play with them.
Let them guide the play. If it gets out of hand, you can stop it.
Whether you are a victim or a helper, take care of yourself or you won’t be able to help others.