Q. Although we live "down under," it's amazing what an incredibly strong impact the terrorism incidents have had on our family! After seeing the TV images of the twin towers in NYC, our three pre-teens seem to be having difficulty sleeping. How can I help them?
A. Dealing with loss (actual or vicarious) isn't easy for adults. It can be overwhelming for children! They may evidence this by going from being quiet to noisy (or vice versa), or from caring to aggressive, or even appear stoic. They may experience nightmares, may sleep-walk, become easily upset, become frantic when care providers are out of sight, or revert to more infantile behaviors (e.g., thumb sucking, bed wetting). To the extent that you are comfortable dealing with loss and moving through grief recovery, you will be able to role model an effective process for your children.
I have posted a Grief Recovery Outline on the website. It contains suggestions for helping children deal with loss and grief in addition to gender differences and the Grief Recovery Pyramid. If you don't have internet access, you may write and ask me for this four-page article. I'll be happy to send you a copy: P. O. Box 2554, Napa, CA 94558-0255, U.S.A.