How do you handle trauma in your family? Do you watch the news with your children and then leave them to figure it all out on their own? Are you talking about how you lost everything to the neighbor with your child standing next to you? Are you trying to shop for all what was lost and buying new things out of guilt? Even if your home was not affected, are you letting this catastrophe be passed by without using it as a great lesson in empathy and compassion for your children? Pass the salt, oh hey yeah that hurricane happened, whats for dinner?”
Like everyone else I sat and watched the news about Hurricane Sandy, and waited to see what will happen next, who is without and what favorite beach town was washed away. I felt empty and lost, like what can I do right now to help?
What I also realized is they were not showing children responses and rightfully so, it would be overwhelming for the child. When I finally left my house, and got on the bus, I sat near a boy who was about 4 years old, he was talking to a girl next to him, he exclaimed, “I saw a fish on the sidewalk, and it came from the ocean!” He said it really show and all big eyed. It sent a complete chill up my spine. It was the first child’s experience I was hearing from a child of his experience.
A recent guest on my show shared, “as soon as our lights went out, Emily (7 years old) demanded that the family dance!” Seeing a catastrophe through children’s eyes is interesting. What effects them the most is how their adults around them speak, and act after the situation.
I found out via social media that I have several friends that, had monster floods and lost cars, a whole basement and in one case a whole house.
I am inspired to write this blog after I read one post from a girlfriend who I felt is a POWERFUL PARENT after Hurricane Sandy.
Here is an excerpt from what she wrote:
“Still feeling overwhelmed and saddened by what we have been through going through for the last few weeks. Waiting on adjusters is maddening. Waiting to hear from car companies is annoying. But I took my boys to Bell Harbor, Rockaway and breezy today. I was amazed at their outlook on things. All they wanted to do was give toys to kids. Wanted to put smiles on their faces. I know we didn’t lose our home like so many others did but we lost a lot. The saddest part for me was the terror in their eyes when water started RUSHING in our home. It was filling up the basement at a scary speed. They thought they were gonna drown in their own home. Yet, when the dust settled, they raised money for others and wanted to put smiles on other kids faces. I am proud of my boys for many reasons but this really warmed my heart and made me feel as though I really am doing a good job with them. Thank you god for blessing me with my boys.” LCD Brooklyn, NY
So amazing! Taking her children to volunteer in a neighborhood where the people lost more then they did, was brilliant, it helped put in prospective what they have is amazing, even if they lost toys and “stuff.” I am a huge fan of volunteering. Volunteering alongside your children is payment into the blueprint of the way they grow up. Its priceless.
Many people have suggestions on how to speak to your children about Hurricane Sandy or any disaster. Doing speaks volumes, speaking often confuses a child and doesn’t get the point across as much as the acting of helping a peer.
All the love and light to all the parents who are handling their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It’s not easy, but the ways you do handle your life teaches children what REALLY matters in life. ~LOVE
When you don’t know what to do, just look into the eyes of your child, they will tell you…