Posted on in Saints Are Us by The Rev. David Marshall
We are living in a world where everyone is aware of violence as it happens, including children and youth. Therefore, it is important that we as adults are always honest and up front, as they are very aware of the events in the world. It is important to be age appropriate in responses and discussions, but always truthful. Take time to answer with much honesty and calm. Younger children (up to 4 or 5 years) need short, clear, and truthful answers and reassurance that they are protected and cared for—they or their questions must never be dismissed or disregarded.
Fears in all age groups will arise, such as “is it safe to go out and play, or is it safe to go to school?” Do not allow your own apprehension influence the young. Admit to it and explain those feelings are normal under the circumstances, but daily routines and life must go on. Most importantly LISTEN and DON’T judge; be supportive and positive to concerns expressed.
When dealing with older children and teens encourage rational discussion. Even if this age group interjects emotions into the conversation, remain calm, listen, and be the cool head in the moment. Older children and teens need assurance as well while being encouraged to look at what is happening around them. If the violence is directly in their experiences, again it is first important to listen and then with them become pro-active in addressing the situation. Never ignore or be dismissive if someone is being victimized in any way.
If you feel you cannot address an issue, talk to a school counselor, a member of the clergy, or medical professional you trust. They can direct you and your family to professional services that can help. Do not allow fear to take over and wreck your peace of mind. As Christians we live in the Presence of the Sacred, in the Name of Jesus!
See you next time.
I am your bro. John. O.C.P.