Parent Guidelines

The following are excerpts from Parent Guidelines for Crisis Response. Reprinted from A Practical Guide for Crisis Response in Our Schools, © 2003 by the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress – Reproduced with Permission.

What can parents do to address the reactions of their child to a crisis situation?

As parents you are probably the most influential factor in the recovery of your child from the emotional consequences of a crisis. Since you are the most emotionally involved with your child, your support, encouragement and reassurance is of utmost importance in your child’s recovery. While you may be frequently frustrated that you can’t do more to alleviate your child’s suffering, you need to realize that your efforts can not be replaced by anyone else.

As a parent of a child exposed to a crisis, you face several challenges in your effort to help your him/her. First, you may experience guilt because you were unable to protect your child from the wrath of the crisis. Even though this guilt may have no foundation in reality, it is real to you, and needs to be kept under control so that it doesn’t disable you from focusing on your child’s needs. Second, you need to keep yourself under control in a situation that may have been very emotional and traumatizing to you. This is especially true if you were also exposed to the crisis situation. You need to realize that you can suffer secondary traumatization due to your child’s exposure to a crisis. As discussed above, you need to attend to your own emotional responses and seek intervention. While you need to be fully involved in your child’s recovery, time for yourself will do more to help your child. Following are interventions that you can provide t