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Parenting through traumatic events

Natural disasters and events of community violence can be overwhelming for all of us watching these events play out on the news. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and reminds us that in addition to the families directly impacted by these events, many families experience trauma and violence in their own homes. Parenting under the best of circumstances can be challenging. As parents, we want to care for our children and keep them safe. Unfortunately, when a disaster strikes, our best efforts only go so far. Being prepared is not always enough; outcomes associated with hurricanes, floods, wildfires and other traumatic events are often beyond our control. 
During and after a disaster, we may shift into survival mode focused only on what needs to be done, without realizing the emotional toll the event has taken on us or our family. Heightened stress can escalate family tensions. Communication and healthy conflict management skills are essential to our own self-care and supporting the needs of family members during a disaster and through the recovery period. Learning how to have age appropriate conversations with our children can help them better prepare and cope with what's happening around them. We hope the following tips and resources will be helpful to you and the families you serve as we work together to reduce the emotional toll of these events.
Tip of the Month
Children can face emotional strains after traumatic events, such as accidents, disasters, and witnessing and/or being victims of violence. Understanding how children and youth may react and caring for them in an age appropriate way are critical to their healing and future well being, but it can be difficult to know what to do. Here are some tips from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for talking with and helping children and youth cope after a traumatic event:
  • Give young children a lot of cuddling and verbal support. Take a deep breath before holding or picking them up and focus on them, not the trauma.
  • For older children, spend more time with them than usual, even for a short while. Returning to school activities and routines at home can be important.
  • Address your own trauma in a healthy way. Reaching out for help in dealing with trauma can not only make you stronger, but help build resilience for your children. MentalHealth.Gov's Treatment Locator can help you find services and resources in your area.

The Events Calendar offers a listing of national, regional and community-wide events that might be of interest to our targeted safety-net stakeholders. This includes conferences, webinars, policy forums, etc. You may submit events for consideration and inclusion on the Events Calendar.

Submitted events will be reviewed, and once approved, the event and its details will be posted on the calendar. Supporting documents, registration information, and flyers can also be posted and downloaded with each event.

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