We were saddened to hear about another mass shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and congregation impacted.
It is common for people to experience fear, anxiety, worry, confusion, and anger when learning about this event. JFS continues to encourage you to take care of yourself and those around you who have been affected by this news. The American Counseling Association (https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/coping-in-the-aftermath-of-a-shooting) shares tips on how to cope in the aftermath of a shooting:
- Attend to self-care.
- Pay attention to your emotional health.
- Try to recognize when you or those around you may need extra support.
- Avoid overexposure to media.
- Maintain contact with friends and family.
- Focus on your strength base.
- Talk to others when you need help.
Children may even experience thoughts that the world is no longer safe and struggle to make sense of what happened. Children may also experience strong reactions and will turn to trusted adults for help and guidance. To help children, The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) provides some strategies for how to talk with them about what happened (https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources/fact-sheet/talking_to_kids_about_hate_crimes_and_anti-semitism.pdf):
- Start the conversation. Provide a level of information and discussion that is appropriate for your child’s developmental level.
- What does your child already know?
For preschool children: Be mindful of exposing them to adult conversations
- Gently correct inaccurate information. Take time to provide the correct information in language your children/teens can understand. Help address any safety concerns that they may bring up.
- Encourage your children/teens to ask questions and answer questions directly.
- Understand common reactions such as problems with attention and concentration may arise. Increases in irritability and defiance may be present. Children and teens may have more difficulty separating from parents, wanting to stay at home or with other caregivers. Worries and anxieties about what has happened, what may happen in the future, and how this will affect their lives. Support from trusted adults will help with feelings of safety and security.
- Promote your family values and beliefs. This is an important opportunity to instill values and beliefs about respect, tolerance, and diversity.
- Be a positive role model. You can share with your children/teens ideas for coping with difficult situations like talking with you or other trusted adults. Your positive statements about the response by many leaders, Rabbis, and others in support of those targeted by hatred will increase your children’s sense of security and safety.
Should you, your family members, your friends or your neighbors need professional helps, please encourage them to reach out.
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