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Friday, December 14, 2012

An Interview With Our Staff Counselor Regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy

John Deyo is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in San Dimas, California.  He brings wisdom and insight to Wings Like Eagles that has been gained through his professional work, as well as personal experience.

John has a heart for helping people find themselves through their pain, and he works hard to see Life restored to an individual, couple, or family who come to him from a place of hopelessness and despair.

John writes a blog called Metaphoria that is linked to his professional Website.

For more information on John's private practice, and to see other Metaphoria blog entries,click here.

By:  Kristi Tisor Ambriz

I had Dr. Oz on this afternoon while I worked at my computer, and my 8 year-old son was in the room.  

During the commercial break a news promo came on with images of Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, CT, and my son was transfixed.  It was one of those slow motion moments when I couldn't get to him quickly enough, distracting him as well as I could while I escorted him out of the room.  

He saw.  Nothing graphic, but he saw that something horrible had happened at a school.

He asked me about it, and I simply told him that a "bad guy," hurt some kids at a school far, far away.  He went on to a different room, and played.

I frantically texted John Deyo, LMTF.

The following is our text conversation:

KTA:     I wanted to spare Lee from knowing what had happened, since he's so little.  When he asked me, I simply told him that a "bad guy," hurt some kids at a school.  

JD:     Well, you know they will find out sooner or later. 

KTA:     What do we do, John?  How do we help our kids?

JD:     In no particular order, consider the following guidelines:

  • Manage your own feelings about it. If you are falling apart your kids will follow suit. 
  • Kids will need to talk about it. Talk to them in simple, age appropriate terms. 
  • They need reassurance (not guarantees) that they are safe and that these kinds of things are very unusual (like one grain of sugar in a whole bag or sugar, or some such comparison.) 
  • They might express feelings thru drawing, or maybe making a card for other kids at that school.
  • Limit exposure to news coverage of all kinds!  
  • Maintain regular routines and don't be afraid to distract them--without denying their fears or sadness.
  • Finally, and this goes without saying, keep praying. Hope that helps.

KTA:     It really does, thank you.

Limiting Lee to news coverage is exactly what I had in mind, and yes, I should have anticipated that there would have been a news promo, or even a news update that could break in at any time.  Actually, when a Breaking News report happens, they do break in with a lot of music and fanfare--time to get little ones away.  But, the news promo surprised me, and it was sudden and without warning.

I asked John if I could share our text conversation with our readers.  With this in mind, he texted me a little bit later with yet another nugget of wisdom to add and share:
JD:     An afterthought, but important. Have older kids limit their interchanges about the tragedy with younger siblings. Seek professional help if your kids develop anxiety, depression, nightmares or other somatic symptoms in the days that follow.

If you need an outlet, or place to share your feelings about this horrific massacre, please feel free to Message us on our Wings Like Eagles Crisis Recovery Facebook page.

For our California readers, John Deyo offers counseling in San Dimas.  You can contact his office through his Website found here.

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