By Daniel Benor, MD Children at any age may be frightened by experiences in real life or through the media, particularly when they observe violence or injuries. They may easily misunderstand what has happened and may be scared that the same or worse could happen to them. Adults may assume that the children are simply anxious for their safety, based on adult understandings of what was observed. The first tendency is to explain that the brutality happened somewhere else and that it is highly unlikely to happen where the children are located. While this may provide a measure of assurance, it is often far off the mark from the actual concerns of the children. Here are some helpful notes on helping children who have been scared: Most important of all, ask children what they understand about the scary situation. Be aware that children under 8 years old (approximately) may not have absorbed and understood what death means. If death is part of what they observed, a separate explanations on this topic may be needed. Seeing blood and bleeding may be particularly scary. Explanations about the circulatory system, clotting and healing are helpful. Fractures, being in a cast and the bodys mending of bones may be helpful concepts to share, as relevant. Reminding children of people they have seen in bandages and casts where they observed complete healing is reassuring. Discussing death, if that was part of what was observed, is very important. If this is within your belief system, helping children understand that there is an afterlife, and that the spirit of a person may linger after death to say goodbye can be reassuring. (Two out of three people who lose someone close to them have such experiences, though few will offer to speak about them unless specifically asked by someone they trust.) Bullying violence is a separate category, because this is a real-life concern that needs to be addressed locally with the bullying individuals and with authorities in charge of the environment and circumstances surrounding the bullying. A plan for safety in case of future violence is reassuring. Once children understand what is involved, much of their anxiety may be allayed. Here is a lovely little video clip from Fred Rogers, giving his take on helping children when they are upset by tragic events in the news: The above, however, relates mainly to childrens cognitive concerns. Emotional issues often need to be addressed separately. Emotional stresses may leave various degrees of impact in children. Some anxieties may be allayed without emotional residues, just with the cognitive processing and parental reassurances of safety. In other instances, where the children are more emotionally sensitive or where the impacts are more severe and stressful, may require further processing. Children who are raised in safe environments and who are unfamiliar with serious breaches of safety or even life-threatening situations may suffer emotional impacts that are potentially scarring. They may demonstrate new anxieties over issues or situations which they had earlier navigated without problems. When more severely traumatized, hey may become restless, edgy, clinging or tearful and may have difficulties sleeping. The earlier they receive help following the traumatizing event, the more easy it usually is to prevent longer term effects. Without professional help, such children may become more withdrawn, socially isolated and hesitant about being in unfamiliar situations. TWR is a wonderful way to help children release their emotional stresses. Children learn very quickly to tap away their anxieties and trauma memories. These are also released much more quickly by children than by adults, because children generally have not built up walls around their fears, as adults do over time. Children also build up meta-positive beliefs and attitudes about handling stresses and traumas when they are helped in these ways to release them. They develop understandings and expectations of competence in dealing with life challenges, so that future challenges can also be handled with confidence, rather than with distress. You may reproduce all or parts of this article in your journal, magazine, ezine, blog or other web or paper publication on condition that you credit the source as follows: Copyright 2013 Daniel J. Benor, MD, ABHM All rights reserved. Original publication atWholisticHealingResearch.comwhere you will find many more related articles on this and similar subjects of wholistic healing.