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Fact Sheets and Online Publications

Helping Children Cope With a Disaster
Preparing for a disaster and coping with it afterwards can sometimes be difficult for children and their families. Children may be frightened by the disaster itself, or be upset by disruptions that a disaster might cause in their daily routines or their relationships with parents, teachers, and friends. It is not unusual for children to show changes in behaviors that may be signs or symptoms of distress or discomfort following a disaster.

Helping Children Cope With Stress
This publication explains how stress exists in your child's world from infancy through the teen years. You will learn how to recognize signs of stress and help your child express, understand, and manage pressure. Suggestions on preventing excessive stress for your child also are provided.   more»

Helping Children Overcome Fears

Everyone experiences fear at some points in their lives. Children, though, are particularly likely to have fears. Adults might see children's fears as silly, but they are very real to the children. The goal of this publication is to help you understand the fears of children. It may also provide ideas you can use to help your children deal with their fears. Children will outgrow many of their fears, but you can help make the process quicker and more pleasant.

Judith Myers-Walls Responds to Questions
1. What are some actions children and parents can take to help them cope
    following these tragic events?
2. How much TV coverage should I allow my children to watch?
3. What should I think if my children shrug off the event or say they don't care?
4. There are many stories and images I don't want my children to carry with them.
    What stories should we be telling and encouraging our children to remember?
5. Some children cannot understand why families won't give up looking for lost
    people. It seems obvious to them that these people are gone. What do we tell
    them?   more»

Parenting in the Wake of Terrorism
The initial shock from Sept. 11, 2001, has eased. Families have returned to many ordinary activities. Yet, many families are mourning, and some are still afraid. Troops have been mobilized, and security has been increased in many settings. The onset of bombing and the engagement of troops introduce new challenges. All observers say that it will be a long fight. Parents have tried to explain the original attack, but what next?

Parents are still responsible for guiding, supporting, and loving their children, but the environment is different. In times of stress, anger, fear, and military intervention, parents face a number of challenges, but the way that parents care for their children can be a powerful force to turn events around. The hints provided here are based on two assumptions: that children and families are affected by world events and news media, and that parents would benefit from seeking alternatives to violence in childrearing and in their children’s lives. more»  en Español

Preschool and Grade School: Understanding Children's Fears
To many parents, children’s fears make no sense at all. Nevertheless, to children, monsters lurking in the dark or scary noises coming from the attic are quite real.

Recognizing Stress in Children
A disaster is frightening to everyone. Several factors play an important part in a child's reaction to the event. Children will be affected by the amount of direct exposure they have had to the disaster.

Strategies for Parents and Teachers
During disasters, many families suffer from the onset of sudden stress. Severe stress can disrupt functioning. Overtime, relief from stress enables families to eventually reestablish equilibrium. Informed intervention can speed up this process and in many instances can prevent serious problems later.

Talking to Children About Terrorism: By the Numbers-Age Appropriate Responses for Parents and Others
While children may not be directly affected by the tragic events surrounding the terrorist attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, they will have questions and concerns about what it means for their world.  more»

Talking with Children About Terrorism
The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon has captured the attention of the nation, and it should. Children, however have a hard time putting these emotionally charged events into perspective. They need the help of the adults around them. So what is a parent, teacher or other caring adult to do when terrorist violence fills the airwaves and the consciousness of America? more»  en Español

Talking With Children About Terrorism -- One Year Later: September 2002
It has been a year since the terrorist attack on the United States on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. Some of the attention has decreased, but it still is difficult to see a TV news program, newspaper, or even sitcom that does not mention that date and explore its impact. At times like the one-year point, news footage is repeated and many people again discuss the events of that day and its aftermath. We are said to be at war, but it does not look like wars that children have learned about. They are not sure if Sept. 11 was a war, whether it started a war, or who was involved. Some feel vulnerable and at risk. They need the help of the adults around them. So what is a parent, teacher, or other caring adult to do when terrorist violence and international conflict fill the airwaves and the consciousness of America?  more»

Talking With Children When the Talking Gets Tough
Wars, shootings in schools, natural disasters, deaths at sporting events—as adults we hope that these and other tragic outcomes will never happen anywhere and definitely will not affect the children and youth we care about. We would like to protect those young minds from the pain and horror of difficult situations. We would like to ensure that they have happy, innocent, and carefree lives. So what is a parent, teacher, or other caring adult to do when disasters fill the airwaves and the consciousness of society?  more»

When War is in the News (September 2003)
The United States is in a very long period of conflict as it attempts to fight the war on terrorism. Many troops have been deployed, and new men and women are sent overseas as others return. Government officials have spoken frequently about the need for military actions. The president has described some of the evil actions of the countries with which we have concerns.

Children probably do not understand the politics of this situation. For many, especially the youngest children, war is a distant event, and they do not pay attention to it. But many others are likely to be confused. They see parents being deployed and leaving their children behind. Seeing children in the news attracts other children’s attention. They may wonder if their own parents will be called to go away. As they hear about deaths of soldiers they may become especially worried. Older children may be confused when they hear differing opinions and recommendations. Many words are being used that are not familiar to children. more»  en Español

Tell Us What You Think
     Materials written and compiled by Larissa V. Frias, Mary Schultheis,
                      and Judith Myers-Walls


For more information, contact Judith Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at jmyerswa@purdue.edu

Please feel free to link to, print off, redistribute, or reprint  any of these materials
as long as the original credits remain intact.

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