GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Many people have struggled to come to terms with a tragic and tense week that included the Boston Marathon bombings, the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, a ricin laced letter to the President and the Schaffhausen trial.
Add to those an unwanted April snowstorm that may have kept some in front of their TV's longer and some of us may be suffering from bad news overload.
A Twin Cities psychologist has some advice on how to handle it all.
Dr. Catherine Sharlau, a licensed psychologist with Allina Mental Health, said of these multiple news tragedies, "When they occur all in the same short time span, they feel more significant and more concerning than if they occurred farther part in time. So I think we have to be very, very careful to not get overwhelmed and to not take on the stress of all of these events but to manage all these emotions especially as parents."
She continued, "The best thing to do is to check in with media coverage, give yourself an update and then, I think, walk away."
She said get up, get out, and find some social support with your peers.
Children, with technology, are more exposed to bad news too so talk to them honestly.
Sharlau said, "I think it's always important to answer your children's questions factually without giving them more information than they already have."
She said, "I think it's very, very important not to re-expose children to graphic images."
Don't reveal your tremendous rage or anger to them. Show them you can cope. "Because," Sharlau said, "it will really help your children to be resilient, I think, in their own coping."
Ultimately for their well being, and your own, focus on the good. She said, "For instance, I thought it was an amazing media image to see the Watertown, Massachusetts residents cheering on law enforcement together as a community."
Sharlau said we will now likely see added security in public places in response to the Boston bombings.
She believes it's important to reassure your children that, "added police presence doesn't mean that it's more dangerous, it just means that people are trying harder to keep us safe."
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