Hate, Violence, and Trauma: Talking with Children
Hateful violence and calamitous natural disasters touch all of us. One need not have been present at the church, the nightclub, the Marathon, the elementary school, or the hate rally to feel unnerved, angry, or shaken. One need not have directly suffered from the wildfire, the flood, or the hurricane to be frightened, angered, or upset by nature's power to cause harm.
You want to help your children emotionally and spiritually process what is happening in and outside our communities. For UUs, action is a valid response; it is important to ground that action in compassion and make it part of your own healing. Please use these resources to help yourself, your family, and others.
Tips and Fact Sheets
- Responding to Hate is a pamphlet from the Anti-Defamation League. It clarifies the difference between hate crimes, discrimination, and hate incidents and explains how to engage the legal system should any of these occur.
- Tips for Parents Concerning Children Who Witness or Hear about Violence, from The Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard
- Talking to Children about War and Terrorism: 20 Tips for Parents by David Fassler, MD
- Helping Children Cope with Terrorism—Tips for Families and Educators, from the National Association of School Psychologists
- Supporting Children in the Face of Disaster or Trauma, by Tracey Hurd
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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