Unexpected Help

Posted 11/17/2015 | By HealthCorps

Making your sibling feel safe in an uncertain world.


By Dr. Phillip G. Blanc, MD, MPH


Whether or not it feels good to admit it, we are unfortunately getting to the point where we find ourselves accepting tragedies, almost as normal.

Take the Boston Marathon bombing two years ago. It’s recent enough that you may remember mutterings about a suspected terrorist or details describing the nature of the injuries and deaths that resulted. You may remember feeling confused about why someone would want to commit such an act. You may remember feeling vulnerable to attacks by a random person at any place on any given day. In general, you may just remember feeling afraid.

Recent events mean that there there are younger kids who may be feeling the very same way: confused, vulnerable, and afraid. Because of their shared experiences with tragedy, good thing is: that’s where an older sibling, relative or neighbor can be a huge help.

Even if they don’t always admit it, younger kids look up to their older brothers and sisters, cousins and neighbors. In fact, they may even listen to what you have to say, more than a parents. Even though it’s a sad time for many people, we can make the most of this situation by lending a helping hand to those who may need it the most: younger kids that we care about. It’s an opportunity to let them know that if they’re scared, that it’s normal and that they have you to talk to if they need. Don’t be worried about having all the facts in place about what happened or about having the perfect answers to their questions—one of the greatest things you can offer a younger kid is to help make them feel safe and not alone.

Again, the details of what happened aren’t as important as letting younger kids know that you are there to help them, especially through this difficult time. And remember, adults don’t have all the answers and don’t fully understand why some horrible events have happened

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