Sometimes it feels like trauma is everywhere. With recent bombings, kidnappings and sexual assaults, the tornado that devastated communities in Oklahoma last night adds to the sense of systemic grief some of us are wrestling with. Some of us react with anger, some sadness. Some of us fight or escape, numb ourselves or feel paralyzed. Some of us are desperate to connect with others, while others isolate. Some of us are at a loss for words, and some of us can’t stop talking about it. Some of us avoid the news, and some of us lose hours looking at media footage online. These things cause us to question our faith (spiritual or in humanity), or they root us more deeply in it. We all respond to trauma differently, but that’s what all of these experiences are: trauma symptoms. Trauma symptoms are very normal reactions to very abnormal and horrible experiences.
SPCC is in the practice of supporting children exposed to trauma, and helping their caregivers do the same. While our work is focused on child maltreatment and family violence, we recognize that trauma comes in many forms. For those families deeply and closely impacted by the recent tornado, as well as for families across the country, we highly recommend taking a look at The National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s “Tips for Parents on Media Coverage of Tornadoes”.
This two page document is informative and practical, and provides information on how to have conversations with children, media exposure impact, and what to be aware of. In addition to the NCTSN Tips, please remember that children and adults who have experienced traumatic events in the past, regardless of the type of trauma, are much more susceptible to secondary trauma reactions through this media coverage. If you or your child fall in to this category, please be particularly mindful of how you are being impacted.
Our hearts go out to the individuals, families and communities impacted by this natural disaster.