“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” - Mahatma Gandhi
We feel your pain and a child feels an adult's pain.
Parents, teachers and family members can help by modeling healthy emotions. Instilling values like compassion and empathy to help children navigate trauma. The central question on the minds of young children is, “Am I safe?” We encourage families to minimize television viewing and emotionally-charged conversations. If your family is particularly close to the situation, you may offer a few more details to dispel confusion and fear:
“You are safe. Something happened. Lots of people are working to make things OK. You are safe.”
Children need to feel physically safe, emotionally safe, and socially safe in order to build resiliency.
The situation in Ferguson is a community trauma; we acknowledge the loss and trauma that everyone is experiencing, mindful that our community of families and friends will interpret events in very different, personal ways. We watch together and hope for healing, while remaining sensitive to the needs of young children and how they may be processing conversations and scenes that play out again and again on television.
Let’s make a serious commitment to be mindful of the impact that negative media has on young children.
Turn off the TV and start a dialogue… Open up and share, “I feel as a parent…” Say, “I am upset, I am sad, I am mad…” And also share strength based emotions like, “I am moved when…I learned…”
As we work through difficult conversations and experience our world together, our doors are open if you have any questions or concerns. Let’s work together to create the next level of dialogue to strengthen our St. Louis community.
Steve Zwolak University City Children’s Center Executive Director LUME Institute CEO