Of course, children in severe crisis need professional help, both directly and continuously. Doctors and psychologists are self -evident in, for example, organizations that help on site in war and in the countries where the war -affected moves. But one does not exclude the other and according to Save the Children can all provide psychological help in different contexts. Among other things, they write like this on their website:
“Crises turn upside down on everyday life and it can feel like we are losing all the control and believe that it will be good again. Psychological first aid for children fits in many different situations. From supporting an individual child in the evening after a nasty message to meeting a school class the day after a terrorist act or child at the site where a disaster has just occurred. Just as with first aid in acute physical injuries, nothing requires extensive training. Contributing time, commitment and calm goes a long way! ”
Save the Children also has a list that gives tips on things that are good to do when you meet children in crisis. (There are so many professions that today involve daily meetings with, for example, children who have come from war):
Present yourself and tell me what you can help with.
"Hello my Name Is..."
Support parents to take care of their children themselves in the first place. Encourage parents 'and others close to relatives' confidence that they are able to calm and show sufficient care even in a very difficult situation.
"Can I make it easier for your family in any way?"
"What would help you support your child right now?"
“How do you usually do to calm your child? Should we try if it works now too? "
- Talk to everyday words.Avoid using strong descriptions and scary words such as terrible, panic, horrible.
Confirm feelings and calm.See if you can find a secluded and quiet place that makes it easier for children and parents to ask questions and tell them what they need help with.
"You seem scared, can we take a deep breath together and we'll see how I can help you?"
"What do you think/you think we sit here for a little while?"
- If a child wants to talk, take the time to listen.
Normalize and explain common crisis reactions.
"It can feel difficult to think clearly when we get scared, sometimes it can feel like it just spins in the head."
“It's common to feel weird when really scary things happen. The body may feel different. "
Find out what usually works for the child to calm down.
“How do you usually do when you are worried? What usually works for you to be calmer? ”
Relieve from debt.
"You couldn't do more, it would be very dangerous."
"It's very difficult now but I see that you are trying to do as best you can."
Encourage the child's spontaneous positive strategies.
"So cozy you have wrapped yourself in the blanket!"
"So good that you hold the glass!"
"I saw that you helped get pens, so kindly made of you!"
A list that I think is good to keep in mind/when these meetings take place. We can all meet a child in crisis ..
I have been thinking a lot about this - on the one hand so much special competence is required; A society that holds and builds up traumatized children and people who have been involved in horrible things. On the other hand, we all have a responsibility: can we contribute, we should. We at Bonki always want to share our belief that emotional crash is important for everyone and in this it is even more at its forefront. If you are good at feeling and expressing your own feelings (and boundaries), it will be easier and more obvious to help others, I think. The step to stretch a hand and respond to a child with trauma does not get as far.
A person in my acquaintance circle is just such a person. With strong integrity, clear boundaries and what I have always experienced as great self -insight and understanding of her own feelings, she has always contributed so obviously where others often back. When I realized that she has worked voluntarily for an organization and in various ways supported children who came here from war -affected countries, I was not surprised. If anyone, so she.
I had a small conversation with her the other day and would love to share it with you. Maybe as inspiration to myself, perhaps as a little hope that we can understand that together we can do so much more for all children to have the opportunity to grow up, not only physically survive but also feel good and learn to feel , talk and dare to ask for help. Nothing is actually more important than just that.
The conversation was about the importance of boundary and why it is crucial for children to express feelings. In this conversation, my friend is anonymous for obvious reasons.
- I've always seen you as strong. Not because you (as "strong" are often seen) "can handle whatever and bite", but more on the contrary - you can say loudly that you do not want, cannot or prioritize anything else. I was not surprised when (a common acquaintance) told me that you are a volunteer and meet a lot of children in crisis.
- I do not see myself as strong .. but what I think is that the picture you have of yourself plays a role. My parents believed in everything I took for, never judged and we talked about everything. I have always seen my place as obvious, in situations, at work, in relationships .. It probably plays. I never learned to apologize, as I sometimes realize that others have grown up. It may give me an advantage sometimes .. I dare to take in things that hurt.
- What do you think your way and your personality can give children in crisis?
- I do not think that I can give more than anyone else, but it requires a certain basis, that you are quite stable in your own feelings. After all, children feel when you falter emotionally. If you are more stable emotionally, you reach the children better, can be present and much will "free" then. But that does not mean never to show their own feelings that some believe! It is the uncertainty or when adults try to pretend to be strong as children react negatively to - not that the adult have feelings.
- We at Bonki are sure that it is important to become emotionally smart to have the tools to feel good through life. Starting to talk emotions early is good. But is there a difference between how to talk about what feels with children who have never been near war and with those who have been?
- I am not a psychologist and there are certainly different aspects there. That being said, my answer is both yes and no. On the one hand, children, all children, have different experiences but if you have been involved in war, efforts are needed on many levels. On the other hand..barn are children. When the emergency situation is over, we meet them as children. We exist, we play, we laugh, we talk, joke, help and support. In laughter, for example, children who come from war and children who have never been to anything like it meet. If they can meet there, I think that all opportunities in the world are to be involved in giving children environments to grow in which hopefully gives them strength in life - emotions are the key to both well -being and that people can meet across borders..We meet in Something we recognize in each other, where there are no differences. You contribute that world everywhere - even at home with your own children. Start there!
Thanks for wise words. Of course, we agree and know that our emotional cards are used by adults who work with children in crisis who have had it tough as well as by thousands of families. Come in and peek If you haven't already done so. We gratefully receive all the questions you have - none too big to answer!