Alarm Box Blog

First responders have always had opinions and they aren’t afraid to share them. The Alarm Box is intended to present some of those thoughts and to stimulate conversations addressing important related topics.

Sanitation of Society

The Sanitation of Society. . . For Children, The Sky Is Falling

There seems to be a disturbing trend in society that is contradictory to the norms and values of first responders and the public in general.

We are experiencing a society where truth is no longer considered a virtue. It is becoming a society where manufactured news goes beyond being managed to fit a viewpoint to where news defies logic and critical thinking. With the sanitation of our physical environment, our emotional environment is changing as well. As an adult, we rationalize the events and demands being put upon us by the Corona Virus. Children have not developed coping skills to the same level, and to them, it appears that the sky is falling.

Children often do not act out the internal anxieties they are feeling during traumatic events. The Corona Virus, being experienced, is a traumatic event. There is a need for emotional first aid. It is incumbent upon adults to reassure children the sky is not falling by scraping away much of the political doom and gloom rhetoric.

Masks are good because, or is it that masks are worthless? Big stores are ok to visit, but small retailers are closed. Mixed messages abound. COVID-19 is deadly to all, or is it a fact that 99% of those under the age of 60 who contract COVID-19 recover?

Providing COVID-19 emotional first aid for children involves four elements.

A problem must be acknowledged to establish an emotional first aid environment. COVID-19 is dangerous and is not to be ignored. A flood, a tornado, hurricane, or significant wildfire presents a physical reality. COVID-19 is a silent, invisible reality.

Becoming familiar with the details of the situation is paramount. Globally what is being accomplished to mitigate the problem? What, as a family, can be accomplished that will realistically minimize the spread of any viruses? A primary foundation of Emotional First Aid is knowledge. What has happened, what is going to happen, and why.

Seek out positive reinforcements. What are the positives presented, even if relatively minor? Trends are trending downward, states are, for the most part returning to normal. It appears that school will probably open this fall.

Embracing humor goes a long way is calming a youngster’s fears. Humor is the best emotional first aid for mass trauma. The totality of the situation is not humorous by any stretch of the imagination, but when provided the opportunity enjoy any positive or entertaining offerings. Laughter is good medicine.

Please share an opinion and respond to Alarmbox@EngineHouse87.org. We will incorporate any comments in follow-up Alarmbox Blogs. Or help use to revise our “What to Say… What to Do” training material to reflect the mass needs to help children deal with the COVID-19 aftermath. Click on: www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/3526238.

Pete Adams
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