Helping Our
Children In Crisis

Divorce...illness...violence. Crisis and hardship are no respecters of age. They shatter even the world of children and shake their security to the core. Consider this pattern to offer comfort, encouragement, and healing to children in crisis:

Communicate

It is crucial for a child facing hurt or loss to receive compassionate honesty from adult caregivers. False hope and empty reassurance may make initial reactions easier to bear, but will lead to distrust and delay acceptance of the reality of their situation.

Connect

Even after the initial blow, keep talking and giving hugs to your children. Ask questions and listen. Observe signs of depression, withdrawal, or anger.

In connecting with a child in crisis, consideration must be given to age and temperament. If a talkative child becomes quiet and moody or a compliant one begins to rebel, these are warning signs of an internal struggle.

Connect also with a support system. Most often families are in crisis together. Supportive adults need to be brought alongside to offer perspective, counsel, and even meet practical needs. Family and friends are often willing to help, but may need clear direction about exactly how they can assist. Be willing to be vulnerable and request aid.

Continue Routine

When crisis comes, painful change usually follows. Adjustments bring sad reminders that everything is altered.

Maintaining a semblance of routine can ease some of the trauma. The summer our daughter died, we had reserved a mountain cabin where we normally vacationed. It was scheduled for two weeks after her death. We decided to go. It proved to be a bittersweet–but precious–time with our boys as we shared happier memories.

Small children, especially, need to continue in the familiarity of stable routine. Bedtime, playtime, nap time, and mealtimes should remain on schedule, if possible. Holidays should still be celebrated. Acknowledge that life is different, requiring adjustment; but don’t put it completely on hold.

Lastly, we would certainly prefer our children be exempt from tragedy and loss. Yet hardships can also be opportunities for growth, maturity, and training in development of compassion– especially if we can be caring and diligent about coming alongside our children to help in times of crisis. Good luck helping your children cope with crisis and grow through it!

Author's Bio: 

Those who won our independence... valued liberty as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.