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Parenting: Helping kids cope with anxiety following major events

Anxiety following major events
Posted at 5:27 AM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 08:21:51-04

There has been a lot to process in 2020.

There was a pandemic that started in March and then two back-to-back hurricanes.

While it can be stressful for anyone, children are the ones who may be feeling the most impacts from these major events.

Dr. Lauren Bailey, a pediatrician with Lourdes Physician Group, said anxiety following major events is normal.

She said the average time to feel uneasy is about four weeks. But said it is always a good idea to be on guard to make sure it is not going on for a longer period of time.

"Becoming more withdrawn, not wanting to play with everybody, not wanting to go with their friends and play outside, and becoming more attached to you," Bailey said. "They're having anxiety about leaving you and normally they would be fine going somewhere and playing, but they want to stay by you. Even sometimes, aggressive behaviors or emotional outburst are signs that they're having a little bit more anxiety and a significant stress to whatever trauma it is."

She said to always keep the lines of communication open.

"What you want to do with them is talk to them about what their understanding of what happened was," Bailey said. "What are their concerns? Fears? Address them one-by-one. It's good to have open communication between the parent and the child. Obviously, involving your pediatrician if it's becoming more excessive then what you think a reaction to something like this should be."

Bailey also suggested that you limit your child's access to the media and how much they are actually watching.

She said there will be an adjustment period, but in most cases children are resilient and will fair well after a major event.