In an episode of the popular TV show Big Little Lies, a character’s young daughter has an anxiety attack, prompted by worries about climate change. Though this may seem drastic, Dr. Kendra Read, attending psychologist and director of anxiety programs with Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine team, is having many conversations with families about how to cope with distressing news, such as mass shootings, crime, global politics and natural disasters.
“It’s common for kids to be worried about events that might potentially harm them or their loved ones,” Read said. “Worrying is normal and a typical part of life, but I tend to talk to children whose anxiety over current events impacts their daily functioning. They exaggerate the likelihood of bad things happening and underestimate their ability to cope with things.”
The key is helping kids cope with the worry about these events happening, even though the likelihood is small. With school back in session, Read offers advice to families whose children might experience heightened anxiety after a frightening news event.
“We want to bolster kids’ coping abilities and teach them how they can help themselves,” Read said. Read full post »