Another favorite among parents across the Boston area was cooking: froggy cupcakes, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies or cheesecake brownies (for those lucky enough to have the ingredients in their house).
The lockdown forced many parents to contend not only with their child’s boredom but the family’s anxiety as well. WBUR posted an article reminding parents that preschoolers are profoundly more affected by their parents’ reaction than by traumatic events. They also recommended limiting the amount of television a child is exposed to. The younger the child, the less images she should see.There is evidence that children can experience PTSD from watching televised traumatic events. As if parents didn’t have enough to worry about, Dr. Bruce Poulsen in Psychology Today notes that there is evidence that children can experience PTSD from watching televised traumatic events. Small children especially may not realize that the re-televised event occurred only once.
The coverage of the manhunt a couple weeks ago was hard to turn off because we wanted to know, just as children do, are we safe? In this twenty-four hour news cycle as viewers are confronted with newscasters panting with adrenaline and hyperbole, it can be difficult to keep perspective. And for much of Boston, who knew victims of the bombings or saw their neighborhood streets littered with bomb squads and SWAT teams, the bombings and the chase of the suspects the following Friday were literally too close to home.Tragedies like the Marathon bombings happen very rarely.It is important to reassure older kids that tragedies like the Marathon bombings happen very rarely. Dr. Eugene Beresin, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, reminds caregivers to take care of their own emotional needs so that they can better attend to their child, who will look to the parents for cues. For parents of preschoolers who do not verbalize their fears, this is even more important.
For many parents, having children has stripped us of our former illusions of invulnerability. Parents worry about their children even on the best days. We try to foresee the future to avert hurt. Don’t touch the stove, you’ll burn yourself. Watch your head, you’ll crack it on the edge of the table. Don’t pull the cat’s tail, he’ll swipe at you. Is this, one wonders, why children think parents are omniscient? With all this apparent power, we wish we could do more.
In last week’s case, the experts have made it clear that there is one easy way to protect our children.There is one easy way to protect our children. We must turn off the television. The coverage can make a sane adult lose perspective, not to mention a child whose experience of the world is limited.
In times of crisis it can be difficult to set aside worry and enjoy our children. If we’re lucky, we remember to take our cues from them. Watch a child push a marble through the milky, liquid oobleck. Listen to their, “Ahhh!” as they scoop it up with a measuring cup. If we stick our fingers into the goop next to our child’s, maybe oobleck can teach us parents a lesson too: to be strong under pressure and, when released from worry, be free and light enough to slip between fingers.