“Today my 2.5-year-old and his Dad were in a car accident… This happened around 1 PM today and my son has been talking about it and asking questions all evening. I’m trying to answer in simple clear terms but I feel over my head. It feels like a punch in the gut every time it comes up again.”
So wrote one of our Ninja Parenting Community members over the summer. Scary stuff!
Helping her process her young child’s trauma, and helping her through her own, has been a real focus of mine ever since.
So it seemed only right to share these lessons with you!
That way you’ll be prepared if something traumatic happens that involves your children.
Tune in to find out 3 ways to help your young child process trauma – and read about these 3 ways, find the entire back catalog of the podcast, watch my recent YouTube video about how to make big parenting decisions, and check out lots more stuff at weturnedoutokay.com/242 …
And thanks for listening!
3 Ways to help your young child process a traumatic event
With something upsetting happens in the life of a young child, they need fairly continual reassurance that they’re safe, and that the people around them will take care of them and keep them safe.
But as with our Ninja Parenting Community member’s recent experience, trying to give them that reassurance can be stress-inducing and overwhelming for us parents.
So, here are 3 ways to help your child confront, process, and come out the other side when something traumatic happens:
1) Let them talk and play it out.
Knowing and truly understanding that these questions and concerns will continually come up for your child can in itself make it easier to handle constant questioning.
Letting them ask these questions, talk about the situation, and even play it out over and over again is a necessary step in processing and moving beyond trauma for children.
2) Read, and play, and do normal stuff.
After something upsetting has happened, give your young child the reassurance that “we’re getting back to normal.” You can best do this by making sure that, as much as possible, you keep your child in a regular routine, with regular bedtimes and mealtimes.
3) Give your child time, and trust the process.
They will feel better, and when they do the questions and continual processing will go away.
Here’s what this NPC member reported a few weeks after the initial trauma:
“A positive update – now a couple weeks out, he’s asking only occasionally about it and has heard the same consistent positive answers enough times to seem secure and okay.
Thank you, Karen!!”
If you’ve recently gone through something upsetting or dramatic with your child, we can help you feel “secure and okay” as well… Join the Ninja Parenting Community today, and get the same kind of support that this member got when something unexpected and frightening happened in her life.
I was able to give her help that regular We Turned Out Okay listeners can only dream of… Including a supportive response very soon after the accident, plus a video in which I shared lots more about helping kids through bad stuff during a live, exclusive members-only call just a day or two later.
Need this same intensive, supportive level of help?
Click here for our series on getting happy weeknights, a 5-part series which includes podcast episodes and videos, and even a free guide to help you make tonight’s family time less chaotic and more enjoyable.
Click here for episode 1 of our Back-to-School Bootcamp.
Click here to listen to my most recent conversation with KJ Dell’Antonia, a 3-time WTOO returning champion with some fantastic advice out in her latest book.
We do talk about the book… but, as always with KJ, it’s so much more than just that : )
Click here for the bonus episode I did, in which I share the live story, told in front of an audience, all about how we adopted two wonderful, sweet, adorable dogs – and then had to give them up, because of my chronic illness.
It’s in some ways a tough story to hear, but it is the story of how Ben and I helped our boys process the trauma of falling in love with these dogs and that having to give them up.
PS Shout out to all you We Turned Out Okay Patreon patrons!! When you support the show in Patreon you get exclusive content, EXTRA Magic Words for Parents videos, early access to my forthcoming book, Your Child Explained Vol 1, and lots more help and advice that regular listeners can only dream of.
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More Links in the We Turned Out Okay Universe
Click here for the We Turned Out Okay Facebook PAGE – where I do a Magic Words for Parents Facebook live each and every Monday at 10:30 AM!
And click here for the EXTRA Magic Words videos exclusively for We Turned Out Okay Patreon patrons.
Click here for the Karen Lock Kolp page in YouTube, where you’ll find the ever-growing playlists of Magic Words for Parents. and other helpful videos (like this one on what to do when your child is jumping on the couch for your attention, at the worst possible time.)
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