Friday, July 26, 2013
Diane comments on “Be calm to help kids cope with tragic events” SF Chronicle
Be calm to help kids cope with tragic events” SF Chronicle, Dr. Winston Chung http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Be-mindful-when-talking-tragedy-with-children-4682499.php offers advice on the importance of parents talking with children to help them better understand and cope with tragedy.
A parent’s tendency to want to protect their child from unpleasant emotions is understandable but brain science tells us to take a different approach.
Children are right hemisphere dominant, which is interested in emotions and the meaning and feel of an experience. The left hemisphere likes to know the linear cause-effect relationships in the world and uses language to express that logic. Each part of the brain does their unique job but they also need to work together as a whole to function well, for a child to thrive both emotionally and intellectually.
When a child’s brain is not integrated, the child becomes overwhelmed by their emotions, which feels chaotic and confusing. Re-telling the story of a frightening or painful experience helps integrate the brain. Talking with children about what happened and how they felt when they fell and scraped a knee, or faced a bully at school, or were disappointed they don’t make the team—all these experiences bring on strong emotions. The re-telling of what happened brings the left side of the brain into the picture and helps a child tame and name the emotions they are experiencing. Empathy and perspective springs from that experience.
Posted by Diane W. Frankenstein