After the Storm: Part 2

 

Today, we are on part two of our series on coping with stressful events, like the recent storms in Jacksonville, AL. Today’s focus is on children ages 7-12.

Typical Behaviors:  During and after stressful events, both children and adults can experience significant amounts of stress. This stress can present in a variety of symptoms or behaviors. The behaviors or symptoms typically seen in children ages 7-12 include:

  • Paying close attention to caregivers or parents to watch their anxiety and fear levels
  • Losing interest in usual activities
  • Withdrawing from friends
  • Becoming focused or preoccupied with safety
  • TEMPORARY decrease in grades or school performance
  • Physical pain – including stomach aches or headaches
  • Increased sensitivity or response to loud/sudden noises
  • Difficulty sleeping or night fears
  • Clinging to parents or caregivers  

 

When To Seek Professional Help:  As a parent, it’s important for you to trust your instincts. If you feel your child needs professional help, seek help. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.  However there are a few guidelines that may help you with your decision. You should seek help if any of the behaviors listed above persist for more than a few weeks, behaviors continue to worsen over time, or behaviors begin to interfere with day-to-day activities.

Tips To Help Your Child:  There are several things parents can do to help children cope with a stressful event. Those things include:

  • Give your child an opportunity to grieve. It may seem silly for your child to be upset over a lost toy or blanket, but to your child: it’s important. Try not to minimize their grieving.
  • Limit your child’s exposure to television coverage or photos of the event.
  • Try to keep to normal routines. If normal isn’t possible, work to establish new, but consistent routines.
  • Find ways to involve your child in the rebuilding process. Give them a small chore to do at your house, help them donate a few old toys, or take them with you to deliver a meal to a neighbor.
  • Let your child know they can talk to you about what happened, but don’t push them to talk if they aren’t ready.
  • Temporarily relax some expectations.
  • Create a family disaster plan together. Working together to create a plan will give your child a sense of control if a similar event happens in the future, but it will also present an opportunity to discuss what happened.

 

Resources – Local & Online:

  • Disaster Recovery Center: The Disaster Recovery Center is located in the Jacksonville Train Depot (map). This is designed to be a one-stop shop for all the resources you need, including mental health and counseling services.
  • School Counselor: The school counselor can help you assess behaviors and connect you with resources you may be needing.
  • Garrett Counseling: You are also welcome to contact our office. We accept most major insurances, and we can be reached at (256) 239-5662.

 

Online Resources:

Get in Touch

Jacksonville
1215 Jackson's Way, SW
Jacksonville, AL 36265
(Across from Jacksonville High School)
(256) 239-5662
 | Phone
(256) 217-4162 | Fax
» Get Directions


Boaz
605 A Medical Center Pkwy
Boaz, Al 35957
(256) 239-5662 | Phone
(256) 217-4162 | Fax
» Get Directions