Hate, Violence, and Trauma: Talking with Children
Hateful, violent rallies of white supremacists are news we cannot ignore. As with the 2016 killings in an Orlando, Florida nightclub; the 2015 murders in a Charleston, South Carolina black church; the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing; and school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and so many other places, one need not have been present at the scene in Charlottesville to feel unnerved, angry, or shaken.
Similarly, one need not have directly suffered from Hurricane Harvey in Houston or Katrina in New Orleans to be frightened, angered, or upset by nature's power to cause harm.
For UUs, action is a valid response. At the same time, as parents and caregivers we must also find ways to help our children emotionally and spiritually process what is happening in and outside our communities. Faith development is enhanced when action is grounded in understanding. Please use these resources to help yourself, your family, and others.
- Making Meaning after Disaster (PDF) by Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, a Tapestry of Faith workshop for congregations, on the UUA website
- Together in Faith (PDF): Finding Home in Times of Trauma or Disaster by Tracey L. Hurd, on the UUA website
Meditations and Readings
- Beyond Absence: A Treasury of Poems, Quotations, and Reading on Death and Remembrance, collected by Edward Searl (Skinner House, 2005). See a prayer by Victoria Safford, page 117; "Love Abides," by Barbara Pescan, page 144; and "We trust that beyond the absence," by Anonymous, page154.
- Mary Oliver's New and Selected Poems, Volume 1 (Beacon Press, 1994)
Articles and Blog Posts
- How to talk to your kids about the violence in Charlottesville by Sonali Kohli, August 12, 2017 in the L.A. Times
- After Charlottesville, 5 Jewish Ways to Help Kids Deal by Michelle Shapiro Abraham, August 15, 2017 on ReformJudaism.org
- How to Talk to Your Kids about the Orlando Club Shooting by Carolyn Talya Cakir on the Romper blog site
- Boston Marathon 2013: What Story to Tell Our Children and Ourselves by Gail Forsyth-Vail, UUA Adult Programs Director
- Supporting Children in the Face of Disaster or Trauma by Tracey L. Hurd on the UUA website
- Helping Students Navigate a Violent World by Sean McCollum, posted by Teaching Tolerance, A Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center
- In How to Explain the Refugee Crisis to Kids (October 2016) and Teaching Kids About the Plight of Refugees (August 2017), Marjorie Ingall in Tablet online magazine reviews children's, youth, and young adult books that lift up current and historic refugee crises using a variety of approaches.
Tips and Fact Sheets
- Tips for Parents Concerning Children Who Witness or Hear about Violence, from The Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard
- Helping Children Cope with Terrorism—Tips for Families and Educators, from the National Association of School Psychologists
- Helping Children Cope with Tragedy-related Anxiety, from Mental Health America
- Discussing Hate and Violence with Your Children, from the Anti-Defamation League
- Talking with Kids about News, on the PBS Parents website
- The Terrorism section of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's website offers multiple fact sheets for processing a shooting tragedy with children (PDF), youth, and adults.
- How to Cope with a School Shooting (video) with Dr. Hayley Sherwood, licensed clinical psychologist
- "Meditation on Breathing," words by Sarah Dan Jones, sung by Alex Kapitan and Tracy Ahlquist
- "We Pray (Healing Prayer)" by Nick Page
- Talking about Death: A Dialogue between Parent and Child by Earl A. Grollman (Beacon Press, 2011)
- Living When a Loved One Has Died by Earl A. Grollman (Beacon Press, 1997)
- Listen, Protect, and Connect: Psychological First Aid for Children and Parents (PDF) by Dr. Merritt Schreiber and R. Gurwitch (2006)
- Trauma Response Resources for Families and Congregations on the UUA website