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How Can Parents Help Their Children Cope More Effectively with a Disaster?



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(OPEN):
AS THE NATION'S CHILDREN HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL AFTER THE HOLIDAYS, THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS IS OFFERING ADVICE TO PARENTS--ON HOW THEY CAN HELP THEIR CHILDREN COPE MORE EFFECTIVELY WITH A DISASTER.  DOCTOR THOMAS MCINERNY ["MACK-EN-ERNIE"] IS THE ACADEMY'S PRESIDENT...

(MCINERNY):
"FOR VERY YOUNG CHILDREN, PROVIDE CONCRETE-EXPLANATIONS OF WHAT HAPPENED--AND HOW IT WILL AFFECT THEM.  ALSO, SHARE WITH THEM ALL [OF] THE STEPS THAT ARE BEING TAKEN TO KEEP THEM SAFE; THAT'S BECAUSE CHILDREN WILL OFTEN WORRY THAT A DISASTER WILL OCCUR AGAIN.  NO MATTER WHAT AGE, START BY ASKING YOUR CHILDREN WHAT THEY ALREADY KNOW, AND WHAT QUESTIONS THEY HAVE; THEN, USE THAT AS A GUIDE FOR THE CONVERSATION.  LIMIT MEDIA-COVERAGE OF THE DISASTER--SINCE CHILDREN DON'T BENEFIT FROM GRAPHIC-DETAILS, OR FROM EXPOSURE TO DISTURBING IMAGES AND SOUNDS.  ALSO, BE SURE TO ASK YOUR CHILDREN WHAT QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS THEY HAVE--AND REASSURE THEM, WHEN YOU'RE ABLE TO DO SO.  BUT, IF THEIR FEARS ARE REALISTIC, DON'T GIVE FALSE REASSURANCE; INSTEAD, HELP THEM LEARN HOW TO COPE WITH THESE FEELINGS.  AND, DON'T FORGET TO TALK WITH YOUR PEDIATRICIAN, ABOUT ANY QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY HAVE.
"

(CLOSE):
DOCTOR MCINERNY ALSO URGES PARENTS, CAREGIVERS, TEACHERS, AND OTHER SCHOOL-PERSONNEL TO VISIT "HEALTHY-CHILDREN"-DOT-ORG, FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.



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