OHEL's Dr. Norman Blumenthal Provides Advice to Children, Adults, Schools and the Community
Following the Brooklyn fire tragedy in which seven children died, Dr. Norman Blumenthal, OHEL's Director of Trauma, Bereavement and Crisis Response Team, has been tirelessly providing care and words of comfort and support at various community-wide events.
These have included:
Â Â Â Saturday evening at Congregation Shaare Zion, Brooklyn
Â Â Â Sunday morning at Yeshiva Ateret Torah, Brooklyn Â
Â Â Â Sunday evening at Congregation Magen David, West Deal, New Jersey
Â Â Â Consultations with school principals on how best to discuss with students
Below are some insightful trauma related videos, as well as a list of key points that Dr. Blumenthal has shared with the community.
Â Video Links To Trauma Related Videos:
Key Points Shared With The Community:
1) All feelings are legitimate. There is no right or wrong when it comes to emotions.
2) Feelings expressed most often are likely to be of fear and grief.
3) It is important to express feelings into words.
4) Encourage children to share feelings with adults, preferably parents without shame or perception of weakness.
5) Parents should give affection and assurance - but only tell the truth.
6) Parents need to speak in concrete terms with pre-school aged children. They do not grasp the concept of "rare occurrences".
7) Young children are reading your voice tone and body language sometimes even more than your words. Be sure you know what you want to tell them.
8) Adults can cry in the presence of children.
9) Pre-school children may demonstrate distress through play and fantasy and sometimes somaticÂ complaints or misconduct.
10) Pay attention to children's play.
11) Pre-school aged children don't fully understand death, and are more reactive to trauma than they are to loss.
12) If your child asks to go to bed with you, let them. Preferably sleep in their room but let them know this is only for a day or two.
13) Elementary school-aged children understand the concepts of a "rare occurrence" and understand death.
14) Elementary school-aged childrenÂ are often interested in facts, especially boys. It is difficult to hide or distort information since children have access to information and feel entitled to know.
15) Elementary school-aged children can sympathize but not empathize
16) Elementary school-aged children are responsive to themes of hereafter, the soul, and after-life
17) Adolescents can empathize and may do so especially in groups of peers. They may also have a contagious response that may need to be contained.
18) Adolescents may struggle with theodicy - why bad things happen to good people... You donâ€™t need to have the answer to every question, but allow the questions.
19) It is generally felt that children 8 and older can go to a funeral. 6-8 depends on maturity and closeness.
20) One should prepare children for what they will see especially caskets and outpourings of grief, and should be accompanied by a "dispensable adult" at a funeral who is not a direct mourner, who can focus on the needs of the child and can leave with them if necessary.
21) Prepare children for the meaning of shiva (mourning period).
22) Tell parents who are sitting shiva (mourning) for their child, stories about their child.
23) Don't run away from mourners or treat them differently if you meet them on the street. Greet them normally and warmly.
24) It is especially important to continue to talk about children who passed away, because a parents greatest fear is that their child/children will be forgotten.
25) Limit exposure to graphic reports regarding the trauma
26) Periodically check in with your children without overdoing it.
27) As difficult as it is to understand, people do cope, and survive tragediesÂ -Â each person in their own way.