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Sunday, 13 February, 2005

Children worldwide affected emotionally by Tsunami

(Source: CNN.com)The stories and images of the tsunami destruction that killed more than 150,000 people can also have a psychological impact on children outside the areas hit. Stories and images of death and destruction may make children worry about their own safety and security.

"I think you have to be very careful to not expose children to information that they can't emotionally handle," says Wasserman, the pediatrician. "A 6-year-old can't handle something that maybe a 12-year-old could."

For the tsunami reports or any tragic news stories, Wasserman advises parents and teachers to talk about the situation and not avoid the topic. By using age-appropriate language, not giving too much information, listening and answering questions, adults can settle children's fears without over-alarming them.

Changes in a child's personality or sleep patterns can be a sign that they're upset, Wasserman says. Abdominal pain is also a common complaint in children who are emotionally distressed.

The Save the Children organization also recommends that adults watch their own behavior. Kids often take emotional cues from those around them. Also, adults should expect the unexpected, as no two children's responses will be exactly alike and some may not even be affected.

Those children with first-hand experience of the tsunamis will sustain the greatest psychological trauma. But MacCormack, of Save the Children, believes that they will recover emotionally, much like children around the world directly involved in past disasters have.

"They certainly understand that their lives have been disrupted and in many cases their families lost, but they're always very resilient," MacCormack says. "So as long as we can reunite them with their families, provide them with stability and a sense of normal life, our experience shows that they will revive and flourish again in the future."

CNN's Amy Cox and Andrew Brown contributed to this report.
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1 Comments Post a Comment
Anonymous Anonymous said :

I believe that people who survived the Tsunami waves have evolved and the circumstances that lay ahead have made them very strong. Hats off to those who are working day & night selflessly as volunteers...

Mon Feb 14, 09:53:00 AM IST