For many, the images conjured from the attacks on Sept. 11 are some of the most devastating and horrific we as a society have been exposed to.
For children, grasping and understanding the concepts behind that day are a completely different challenge completely. Parents of children that lived through the events, as well as children who are seeing for the first time, have a difficult conversation with their child ahead of them: What happened on Sept. 11, 2001?
Colleen D. Multari, director of The Early Years Institute in Plainview, offered advice to parents on how to handle the difficult conversation.
“Ten years later, I think it’s important to realize that we are role models and educators,” Multari explained. “We can work to teach children about the trauma and sadness of the event while also teaching them about patriotism, courage, optimism and strength.”
Multari also cited suggestions from the National Association of School of Psychologists for ways for parents to approach the 9/11 conversation.
- Be prepared for your children (and for you) to experience a surfacing of emotions: "The reactions will vary depending on your children’s personal history and connection to the attacks. Keep in mind that children, particularly, young children, look to adults for cues on how to respond to events and challenges."
- Be a good listener: "Take time to listen and talk to your children. Let them guide the discussion. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you’re home."
- Be aware of your own reactions: "You may also be affected by the anniversary. Your children will take cues to gauge how the current situation is based on your reactions. Connect with family, friends or members of the commmunity for guidance."