How to help a child in the armed conflict conditions? Recommendations for parents
Psychologists of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center prepared a handbook and training videos for parents whose children were directly or indirectly affected by the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine.
The handbook called "How to help a child in the armed conflict conditions?" contains a list of recommendations for internally displaced persons, residents of non-government-controlled areas and grey zone, and families of servicemen. For the sake of convenience the training manual is subdivided in sections, each of them describes possible symptoms and gives simple tips that can be used by parents every day to improve the child's psychological state.
In three published videos the trainer of the "War Trauma" course of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center, a famous children psychologist Alexander Venger, told why parents can and should help their children to overcome psychological trauma.
According to the expert it is important for traumatized children to feel emotional support of their parents. That is why they should pay maximum attention to their child, communicate and share their own feelings. Besides, parents should understand that the child's negative behaviour (aggression, hyperactivity, etc.) – "is not a manifestation of his/her bad character, but an expression of emotional stress and poor mental condition". In these cases the child should not be much pressured and put additional restrictions on. Alexander Venger advises parents to encourage the children's craving for games and creativity that will help them to express their emotions and feelings.
According to the psychologist, parents should seek professional help if their child has the following symptoms:
- significant sleep disturbance (difficulty falling asleep, awakening heavy, nightmares);
- enuresis (involuntary urination);
- tic (involuntary clonus);
At the same time Alexander Venger emphasizes that parents should not prevent such a manifestation of their child, as "playback" of the traumatic event, constant conversations about it, scary pictures. All these are the children's attempts to overcome and respond to their psychological trauma. They should not be prevented. And specialist should be seen only in case of additional symptoms mentioned above.
As a reminder, this year Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center will continue providing methodological support to psychologists and arranging trainings to improve their qualification. Over the period of "Psychological Assistance to Children" project implementation 250 psychologists from all over Ukraine were trained in the "War Trauma" course. Psychological support was provided to 49,000 children and 6,000 adults.