The act of terrorism at educational institutions is a tragedy which has long term effects as it is psychologically related to emotional well being. Very young children do not understand the reason of such heinous crime. Then there are the teenagers who may understand the reason but do not comprehend the ruthless targeting. The students as well as children who in reality or are exposed to incidents through media need special care and depth of understanding to overcome the trauma and be a part of normal life again. The sufferers through a period of shock, they need assurance and support. Natural healing process is going to help, but it will take some time.
At this stage the role of educational and child psychologists who are practically involved in teaching and counseling children to cope with traumatic experiences may help. They can understand the mindset of children and by utilizing various techniques minimize negative effects. Children should be provided opportunities to discuss, write or draw what thy feel about the incident. Own group of friends and age group family members may be of great help. They also need comfort from parents and family members.
After few days the sympathetic attitude may be discarded and children assured that they are capable to take part in everyday activities. There is no need to make them pretend that they are very bold and fearless. They have already shown their courage while facing the traumatic event. Let them go through this phase in a normal way. Sleep deprivation, enuresis, fear of unknown, eating less, clinging or withdrawn behaviors may be the initial symptoms but they will subside after assurance of being in a protective environment. Children may be involved in various activities academic and social. Do not allow anyone to label children as having problems of serious nature. Give some time to cope with the trauma rather than jumping to conclusions and making the situation worse for children.
Adults also need to have awareness and support in order to check their attitude. They should not instill fear and over protectiveness. Let the children face the situation step by step normally so that the effects of the trauma do not turn into negative consequences.
FAUZIA SARDAR NIAZI,
Islamabad, February 23.