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Thursday, January 3, 2013

When Bad Things Happen to Children: Helping Children Process Traumatic Events

As Children in Newtown Return to School a New Children's Book to Help Parents, Teachers & Children

Thought for the Day: Those of you following my blog know that I have been working with families in Connecticut impacted by both Hurricane Sandy & the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown CT. I have appeared on radio shows (Sandy Hook on Dec. 17, 2012 on The Bachelor Pad & Hurricane Sandy on 11/21/2012 live on "Paying It Forward" with Josephine Geraci) in response to questions about how parents can help their children deal with traumatic events. It is an area of expertise that I have had throughout my career & use whenever the need arises. It is important for us to remember that we all have been impacted. Even those of us who do not live in Newtown, or on the east coast where Hurricane Sandy left devastation in her path, have been traumatized by these events. Television & newspapers bring the images home instantaneously. Teachers & parents have been crying around the nation (& around the world) in reaction to the attack in Newtown (The memorial pictures are heartbreaking). Children, even when we try to shield them from the news, see & hear things about these events & need the help & guidance from the adults who care for them. Our lives go on & we are surely not as effected as those directly harmed by the tragedies, but it helps to talk about our feelings & help children know that we will do whatever we can to keep them safe. I hope you will download the book & use it as a way to start these difficult but important conversations with your children. The book offers some ways to take action with your children & feel more in control as well. Here is a press release about the book, When Bad Things Happen to Children. Please share this with parents, teachers & counselors who could use it with the children in their care.
      As always, I would love to hear your thoughts & reactions to this post. If you use the book with your children, please share some of the discussions & art work that it inspires.

Press Release:

-->Dr. Barbara Lavi, psychologist and trauma specialist, offers free e-book, When Bad Things Happen to Children, in response to the Tragedy at Sandy Hook ElementarySchool   
        Responding to the pressing need to help their children across the country cope with the news of the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dr. Barbara Lavi and Lee Delzingo prepared a children’s book, When Bad Things Happen to Children. The book is available to download for free at: www.WakeUpAndDreamChallenge.com 

         Dr. Lavi, licensed psychologist, author and trauma expert has been helping families deal with trauma for many years. She reports that she began as, “a Master’s student in clinical child psychology while living in Israel during the Yom Kippur.” When the tragedy occurred in Connecticut, she knew parents and children would need help She has appeared on talk shows and worked with clients in Connecticut. Since the event targeted children, as an author and a psychologist, “I felt compelled to write a book to help as quickly as possible.”
          The book was written in collaboration with her daughter, Lee Delzingo. Since Lee is completing her Master’s degree in Special Education, works in an elementary school, and is the mother of a 7 year-old daughter and 10 year-old son, Dr. Lavi asked her to help with the project. Some of the touching conversations Lee had with her children have been included in this book.
        The book, a series of verses in a poem, is geared towards elementary school children. It was designed for parents, teachers and counselors to read with children. Since talking about traumatic events helps process them, it can be used as a tool to help start conversations about the recent tragedy. Parents and teachers may choose to work on it one verse at a time over several days. Adults can set the pace they feel is appropriate for the age and maturity level of the specific children they are helping. There is blank space on every page where children can be encouraged to write and/or draw to express their thoughts and feelings about what has transpired.
        Parents are encouraged to read through the entire poem and the annotated Parents’ & Teachers’ Guide before reading it with children. If any of the verses do not seem suited to a child, the adult can leave them out. As adults read the book with children, they can decide which verses to share. There is also a list of additional resources to help children understand and cope with death and loss.
          Dr. Lavi and Lee Delzingo hope this will help parents and educators deal with the difficult task of helping children cope with the most recent traumatic event and other trauma as well. They encourage readers to share it with family, friends and other educators.

Dr. Lavi can be contacted via her website: www.WakeUpAndDreamChallenge.com
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