If one of the goals of terrorism is to instill fear in people, especially through violence, then the deadly bombing at Monday’s Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, may certainly have preyed on the fears of children, some of whom are now questioning whether they want to attend those summer concerts they were planning on seeing.
Dr. Bruce Waslick, chief of Child Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center offers the following tips to help ease kids’ fears after the terror attack:
Parents need to always be open to discussion with children about their worries and fears. If you observe that your child is showing some anxiety over the Manchester concert bombing, let them know they can talk to you about it.
While terrorist bombings are deeply tragic and very scary, the chance of being where one occurs is very unlikely. Parents need to let their children know that these are rare events and reassure them that concerts are normally very safe and can be great fun.
Concerts and other public events can be a growth experience. Parents need to support their children in attending shows like these and to not let anxiety or worry make the decision for them.
While kids will need to have some understanding of what happened, parents need to limit a child’s exposure, especially if they are already anxious, to all the “gory” details of tragedies which can be the topic of discussion for days on end on television news channels. At the same time, parents need to model “good media behavior” for their children and to not watch hours and hours of coverage themselves.
If your child is showing signs of severe anxiety over the bombing, then consult with their pediatrician to determine whether referral to a child behavioral health specialist is needed. It’s also important to know that many kids who become very upset are more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder.
To make an appointment with a child behavioral health specialist at Baystate, call 413-794-5555.
For more information about Baystate Medical Center, visit baystatehealth.org/bmc.