by Tess Bolder, LICSW
Encourage your child to ask questions and answer those questions as directly as possible. Much like adults, children are better able to cope when they have the facts. Talk about the traumatic event, but also address the ways victims are receiving support. This provides reassurance.
It is also helpful to limit media exposure for children, particularly of images and sounds related to distressing events. Try to limit your own exposure as well.
Remember: secondhand trauma is normal. It is normal to feel many different emotions—grief, helplessness, sadness, anxiety, anger, and fear. But also remember: vicarious trauma is a sign of your empathy and humanity.
Don’t forget about vicarious resilience.
While vicarious trauma is real, so too is vicarious resilience. At the Wendt Center, we see resilience all the time, not only in our clients who directly experience trauma and grief, but also in those who experience it secondhand – counselors, teachers, first responders, every day community members. Bearing witness can be traumatizing but you, as individuals, families, and communities, are strong. Together, we can heal.