Helping Children Cope After A Mass Shooting

Helping Children Cope After A Mass Shooting

Our society does not cope well with tragedy or grief. This is surprising with the number of mass shootings we have experienced in the United States over the last 18 years. So far our community has been fortunate with a majority of the shooting occurring on the east coast. However, on Sunday that all changed. There was a mass shooting at the Gilory Garlic Festival. A six year old boy and 13 year old girl were two of the victims shot and killed in front of other children. This will have an emotional impact on the children who were present and those who attended the festival.

These events have an impact on many children. Besides hearing about the shootings and deaths on the news, these events create fear and trauma because children are afraid of losing a loved one in their own lives. Many parents are not sure how to address this subject with children. Many parents ask me how to explain a death to a child or if their child is responding appropriately to a trauma or a loss. I saw a video on CNN which address the issue of children and grief. I think it can be helpful to someone dealing with a child who is grieving.

Children who experience a trauma or the lost of a loved one need to grieve. However, they often need help with the process. Here is someone helping kids grieve in a healthy way. We need more programs like this one more mental health care.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/14/health/cnnheroes-mary-robinson-grief-loss-death-of-a-parent/index.html.

We also need to remember children who hear about the shooting and maybe were there the day before can be traumatized. Children have very active imaginations are are having to undergo active shooter drills at school on a regular basis. A shooting this close to home can emotionally upset a child.

If your child starts to have nightmares, doesn’t want to sleep alone, doesn’t want to be left alone or becomes withdrawn or becomes more active and agitated than usual, these are signs that they may be having an emotional reaction to the shooting. Try calmly talking to them mentioning the changes you have noted and ask if something is wrong. Do not be afraid to talk about it. If you are, your child will feel there is something to be afraid of. It is okay to admit that you have a hard time talking about it too. This usually puts a child at ease.

After talking to your child, if you are concerned about what they are saying or how they are acting, schedule an appointment with a child psychotherapist who specializes in trauma. Psychotherapy is not terrible. Children today are experiencing a great deal of stress and trauma and many children benefit from psychotherapy. If your child has strep throat you would take them to the pedestrian. If your child is experiencing anxiety it is appropriate to take them to a psychotherapist.

Dr. Michael Rubino has over 20 years experience working as a psychotherapist with children and teenagers. He specializes in trauma. For more information about his work or private practice visit his website at http://www.RubinoCounseling.com

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Suggestions about how to respond to grief about the Gilory Garlic Festival

Suggestions about how to respond to grief about the Gilory Garlic Festival

Unfortunately, with a mass shooting occurring every 12 days in the United States (CDC), adults, teens and children are having to deal with grief on a regular basis. Adults may have an idea how to deal with grief, but teenagers and children do not. Our society does not deal with death in a healthy manner. Therefore, many people do not know what to do for or what to say to someone who is grieving. Many patients have asked me about what to do in these situations. While doing research regarding grief for patients, I found this information from the grief center.

Yesterday these mass shooting came very close to home. There was a mass shooting at the Gilory Garlic Festival. A very popular event in the Bay Area. I had friends there just as many of you had friends and family there too. Tragically, two children were killed. A very hard subject to explain to kids who are asking about yesterday’s shooting. As I stated above, I found this information from the Grief Center and I think it is very good information and very easy to understand. Unfortunately, it is also needed at this time as we grieve for victims of yesterday shooting and now feeling even less safe in our own area. Therefore, I will present the information in three sections.

The 10 Best and 10 Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief

Sheryl Sandberg’s post on Facebook gave us much insight into how those in grief feel about the responses of others to loss. Many of us have said “The Best” and “The Worst.” We meant no harm, in fact the opposite. We were trying to comfort. A grieving person may say one of the worst ones about themselves and it’s OK. It may make sense for a member of the clergy to say, “He is in a better place” when someone comes to them for guidance. Where as an acquaintance saying it may not feel good.

You would also not want to say to someone, you are in the stages of grief. In our work, On Grief and Grieving, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and I share that the stages were never meant to tuck messy emotions into neat packages. While some of these things to say have been helpful to some people, the way in which they are often said has the exact opposite effect than what was originally intended.

The Best Things to Say to Someone in Grief

1. I am so sorry for your loss.

2. I wish I had the right words, just know I care.

3. I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in anyway I can.

4. You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers.

5. My favorite memory of your loved one is…

6. I am always just a phone call away

7. Give a hug instead of saying something

8. We all need help at times like this, I am here for you

9. I am usually up early or late, if you need anything

10. Saying nothing, just be with the person

The Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief

1. At least she lived a long life, many people die young

2. He is in a better place

3. She brought this on herself

4. There is a reason for everything

5. Aren’t you over him yet, he has been dead for awhile now

6. You can have another child still

7. She was such a good person God wanted her to be with him

8. I know how you feel

9. She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go

10. Be strong

Best & Worst Traits of people just trying to help

When in the position of wanting to help a friend or loved one in grief, often times our first desire is to try to “fix” the situation, when in all actuality our good intentions can lead to nothing but more grief. Knowing the right thing to say is only half of the responsibility of being a supportive emotional caregiver. We have comprised two lists which examine both the GOOD and the NOT SO GOOD traits of people just trying to help.

The Best Traits

Supportive, but not trying to fix it

About feelings

Non active, not telling anyone what to do

Admitting can’t make it better

Not asking for something or someone to change feelings

Recognize loss

Not time limited

The Worst Traits

They want to fix the loss

They are about our discomfort

They are directive in nature

They rationalize or try to explain loss/li>

They may be judgmental

May minimize the loss

Put a timeline on loss

The above information is meant to be used as a guideline. Everyone goes through the grieving process in their own way. It is very important to understand that point. It is also important to remember while the above is a guideline, the most important thing is your intent. So if you say a worse thing but you said it out of love the person will understand. The guideline will hopefully make you more comfortable to offer support to your grieving loved one or friend. Because someone who is grieving needs people to talk to without people feeling awkward. Also everyone is around immediately after the death and through the funeral services. Most people then go back to their normal lives. However, those who were really close to the person are still grieving and trying to figure out how to proceed with life. So don’t forget the person who is grieving can use emotional support for the first year especially. Therefore, do not forget to call, send a card or stop by occasionally. Especially around the holidays and birthdays.

Yesterday’s shooting destroys the illusion that we are safe at home. Also since there were children killed, other children may experience a traumatic response. Children may start to have nightmares, be afraid to be left alone, be afraid of their parents going to work or they may become very quiet and just want to stay at home. The point is there are a number of reactions they can have to yesterday’s events. If you are noticing a reaction, talk to them. Do not ignore their reactions. Ignoring the reactions only increases the anxiety. Remember, children have very vivid imaginations. Reassure them that you will do everything you can to keep them safe. If you are concerned about the reactions you are seeing, schedule an appointment with a child psychotherapist. Talking about their fears is very important. When you do not talk about their fears openly and calmly, children take this as a sign that you are too afraid to tell them how bad the situation is and their imaginations go wild. Therefore, as hard as it may be because you are worried too, talk to your children about the events.

Dr. Michael Rubino has over 20 years experience as a psychotherapist treating adolescents, children and their families. For more information regarding Dr. Rubino visit his website http://www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/drrubino3 or follow him on Twitter @RubinoTherapy

Facts About Teenagers and Underground Parties

Facts About Teenagers and Underground Parties

Many of people still remember and are grieving over the terrible fire in the Oakland Warehouse which resulted in a tragic loss of many lives. Many young lives were lost needlessly and many families and friends are still grieving because they lost a loved one. Unfortunately, this was a tragedy waiting to happen and it could happen again.

Summer is coming to an end and many teens are thinking about having to start high school soon. Others will be starting college so they are thinking about their upcoming move and not be able to spend as much time with their high school friends. Therefore, as summer comes to an end many teens are thinking about being able to spend as much time as possible with their friends handing out, going to parties and having a good time. Some of these parties they will be planning to attend are referred to as “underground parties.” Such as the one in the Oakland warehouse where so many people died in the tragic fire.

These “underground parties” are very common with teenagers and college students. The place of the parties are usually is posted the day before the party on Facebook or other social media sites that teenagers use. Typically these parties occur in warehouses in Oakland and San Francisco. The party organizers do not get permits nor do they consider safety. Typically at these parties there is a lot of alcohol and drugs such as ecstasy, pink, spice, wax, heroin etc. Therefore, the party organizers are looking for out of the way locations were they are unlikely to be detected by the police.

Many teenagers view these parties as fun because of the dancing and because typically these parties start late at night and go until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. Also since it is underground, if they want to drink or use any of the drugs they can. All they need is the money to buy it or a friend who is willing to buy it and no one will stop them.

Typically a teen will be looking on social media to find the underground parties for the weekend. Often while online they meet other people who are going and they often make plans to go with someone they just met online. Since the parties start usually after 10pm many parents don’t know if their teenager is going to an underground party or not. The teen usually says they are spending the night at a friends house and they sneak out of the friends house to go to the party.

I have had many teenagers tell me about these parties. When I point out the risk such as they don’t know anything about who set it up, the safety of the area or the people who will be there, they also have no idea about the people just met online. They have a tendency to say I’m over reacting or being too careful. I also mention they are taking a tremendous risk going to these parties a drinking anything or using any drugs. Again they have no idea what they are drinking or taking and how their body will respond to the substances. Again, teenagers tend to say that I am overly concerned and there is nothing to worry about because they have gone to these parties before and they know how to handle it.

However, the fire that occurred in the Oakland warehouse shows there is something to worry about. The organizer had no concerns about safety nor did he take responsibility for the fire and what happened. Furthermore, since it was done secretly no one knew for a long time who was there and if they were safe or not. Facebook posted a page for people to check in as safe. However, that didn’t help the families who were waiting to hear, if a loved one was safe or not.

Parents this time of the summer is an excellent time to sit down with your teenager and talk about these “underground parties.” Teenagers have a lot of free time during the summer and they feel entitled to be able to party because they will school is starting soon and some of their friends are leaving for college. Therefore, since they have a short amount of time to be together with all their friends, they also have a right to party and have a good time. Discuss the dangers associated with these parties. Teenagers may argue about the fact that these parties are safe, but point to the Oakland party as an example that these parties are not always safe. Discuss with your teen other places they can go with their friends to have a good time without taking such a big risk.

Parents we also need to put pressure on the authorities to hold the owner of these warehouses and party organizers responsible for what happens at these parties. The Oakland fire was a horrific event. In addition to the building may not be safe, many kids overdose at these parties. Many of these teens die because no one wants to call the police or everyone is so busy dancing and using that they don’t notice if someone has overdosed. Again, the organizer is never held responsible.

One last point, parents when you discuss the “underground parties” with your teenagers use the Oakland fire as proof that bad things can and do happen to teenagers. Many teenagers feel safe taking chances with their lives because they don’t believe anything will happen to them. The tragedy in Oakland proves something can happen.

Dr. Michael Rubino has over 20 years experience working with teenagers and learning about their online activities. For more information about his work or private practice visit his website at http://www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/drrubino3.

Issues Related to Teenagers and Their Cellphones

Issues Related to Teenagers and Their Cellphones

In today’s society many people including teenagers view cell phones as a necessity of life. I have seen teenagers argue with their parents how they could not function at school or in life without their cellphones. In fact, some teenagers become physically violent, if you take their phone. Most teenagers also say they need Smatphones, a regular cellphone will not work. However, cellphones are a privilege not a necessity. We need to remember that fact. Yes for some parents it is a tool they use to keep in contact with their child and for their child to use if they feel they are in danger. However a regular cellphone will do this it doesn’t have to be an IphoneXR.

School will be starting soon and many elementary, middle school and high school student will be asking to upgrade their phones. They need the latest version otherwise they cannot function at school or contact their friends. Therefore, many children will be asking for the IPhone XR. Most children and teenagers who are asking for these expensive phones usually never consider the price. They believe they are entitled to have the latest cellphone.

Many people have forgotten that cellphones are privileges especially teens and children in Middle School. They have grown up with everyone having a cellphone so they don’t see it as a privilege. This is a common argument I encounter between children and parents. The other argument that is common between parent and children is how much and where the being a parent is not a popularity contest. You need to do what you feel is best for your child.

Parents if you stop and think about it, why does an 11 year old child need an IPhoneXR? They do not need to track mileage or expense accounts nor do they remember their own appointments. There is really no reason they need a Smartphone. Setting limits where they use them is important too. Why do they need their cellphone when they go to bed? Most teens who take their cellphones to bed will typically spend hours texting friends or watching YouTube. When morning comes, they are too tired to get up because they were awake until 3am playing with their phone.

Smartphones are an area where technology has moved faster than our ethics. If you think about it, IPhones and Smartphones were not around in the year 2000. Now everyone including a majority of teens have an IPhone or Smartphone. In my opinion an adolescent does not need a cellphone until they enter Middle School and at that point all they need is a basic cellphone. They need a basic phone so they can check-in with you if their plans change or if they feel they are in need of help.

As I stated above, there is no reason that a teenager really needs a Smartphone. They are not taking care of a family nor are they running a business. Therefore, a basic cellphone should be adequate for what they need it for. I understand that given the way our society has changed some parents may find that it is helpful to their family if a child in middle school has a cellphone. This is a decision that every parent needs to make based on their family’s situation.

The parent needs to make this decision, not let the child guilt them into buying them a cell phone. If you are divorced and have children, this may be extremely difficult, but the decision about if your child gets a cellphone or not, should be a joint decision by both parents and a decision you both agree on. One parent should not buy a cellphone without consulting the other parent and they should not use it as a weapon in the divorce.

If you decide that your middle school child is mature enough for a cellphone, you should discuss the rules and guidelines about using the phone prior to getting a phone. Some things to discuss are who they give their cell number to, not texting during class and not taking it into the bedroom at night so they can text most of the night. As I stated, many kids will text with their friends until 2 or 3 am and then be too tired for school the next day.

Also there should be a discussion about sharing photos. You never know what someone will do with a photo if they get mad with you. Also there needs to be a discussion about the law. It is not uncommon for teens to send their boyfriend/girlfriend nude photos of themselves. What they don’t understand is they are under the age of 18 years old. Therefore, if they have a nude picture of their 15 year old girlfriend, they can be charged with possession of child pornography. Many may say this won’t happen to me, but I have had a number of teens in psychotherapy because they were charged with having child pornography. Also you need to remember, once those pictures are out on the internet, they are out there forever. There also needs to be a discussion about on-line perpetrators too. There are many pedophiles on line trying to lure unsuspecting teens into their plans. Your children need to understand this is a real risk and what to watch for.

Finally, it should be made clear that the phone does not belong to the child — the phone belongs to you the parent. Yes you are giving them the phone to use, but it still belongs to you. If you ask for it back, then the child hands it over no questions asked. Also if you feel they are using their phone in an inappropriate manner, all you need to do is call your cellphone carrier and request that their phone line be suspended. It cost you nothing and it is an easy way to control the phone. When you feel that your child has earned the right to have the cellphone back all you do is call your carrier to reinstate that phone line.

It is very important that you and your teen have an agreement about conditions regarding their cellphone use. All of these conditions and agreements should be written down in an agreement that you sign and the child signs. You each get a copy of the agreement and one copy is posted on the refrigerator. If there are any disputes about a rule, you simply go back to the agreement and you follow what is written. A written agreement is very important because I have seen parents have conversations, make agreements and then 6 months later there is a disagreement and everyone’s memory is slightly different so you have a big fight.

Also given how many adults have gotten into trouble with their Smartphones, if you are going to allow your child to use any kind of cellphone you must discuss the pros and cons so the child does not get into major trouble with the phone.

Below I have included a sample contract that you can use with your child and modify as you need.

Cellphone Contract

I, child’s name, will not bring my cellphone to the family dinner table.

I will not go over our plan’s monthly minutes or text message limits. If I do, I understand that I may be responsible for paying any additional charges or that I may lose my cellphone privileges.

I understand that I am responsible for knowing where my phone is, and for keeping it in good condition.

I understand that my cellphone may be taken away if I talk back to my parents, I fail to do my chores, or I fail to keep my grades up.

I will obey rules of etiquette regarding cellphones in public places. I will make sure my phone is turned off when I am in church, in restaurants, or quiet settings.

I will obey any rules my school has regarding cellphones, such as turning them off during class, or keeping them on vibrate while riding the school bus.

I promise I will alert my parents when I receive suspicious or alarming phone calls or text messages from people I don’t know. I will also alert my parents if I am being harassed by someone via my cellphone.

I will not use my cellphone to bully another person.

I will send no more than _____ texts per day I understand that having a cellphone can be helpful in a emergency, but I know that I must still practice good judgment and make good choices that will keep me out of trouble or out of danger.

I will not send embarrassing photos of my family or friends to others. In addition, I will not use my phone’s camera to take embarrassing photos of others. I understand that having a cell phone is a privilege, and that if I fail to adhere to this contract, my cell phone privilege may be revoked.

Parent Responsibilities I understand that I will make myself available to answer any questions my tween might have about owning a cellphone and using it responsibly.

I will support my child when he or she alerts me to an alarming message or text message that he or she has received. I will alert my child if our cellphone plan changes and impacts the plan’s minutes.

I will give my child _______ warning(s) before I take his or her cellphone away

Signed ______________________________ (Tween) Signed ______________________________ (Parents). Date ______________________________

Dr. Michael Rubino has been working with middle school and high school students for over 20 years. He is considered an expert in this field. Dr. Rubino is one of the founding members of the National Alive & Free Program, a program designed to work with teens. For more information about Dr. Michael Rubino’s work and private practice visit his website at http://www.rcs-ca.com or http://www.rubinocounseling.com or follow him on Twitter @RubinoTherapy.

You Don’t Treat Me With Any Respect

You Don’t Treat Me With Any Respect

This article is slightly different from my other articles. This article is written for teenagers. School is starting soon and many teens will be starting middle school or High School. Since they have advanced in school they often feel entitled to more freedom. This is a common argument I hear where teens feel they are being disrespected.

Parents while the target audience for this article is teenagers, you may find some of the issues I mention helpful when speaking with your teen. You may be able to use this article as a way to start a discussion with your teen about your house rules and respect.

In my office, I hear daily from teenagers how they feel disrespected by their parents. This is common problem between teens and their parents. Teenagers feel disrespected by their parents and that their parents treat them like children. Sometimes this may be true, but overall teens are expecting too much from their parents.

Yes it is true that as teenagers you are becoming young adults and that you should be able to handle more responsibility. The big word in that last sentence is SHOULD. Just because you turn 13 or 16 doesn’t mean you are in charge of your life. You are a YOUNG adult. Noticed I capitalized the word young. There are still a number of life experiences for you to learn and until you do, your parents are responsible for you.

A number of you have heard your parents say when you are 18 you can do as you like and that is the truth. Prior to you turning 18, any trouble you get into, your parents are responsible for it. If you damage property, your parents are legally responsible. If you get arrested and put in Juvenile Hall, your parents receive a bill from the County for the length a time you were in Juvenile Hall.

You may think that you do not need your parents, but you need their permission to drive and basically for anything you want to do. Even if they give you permission to drive and you get your license, they have the ability to have your driver’s license suspended at any time they want while you are under the age of 18. Also if your parents are divorced, both parents must sign the consent for your driver’s license. You cannot play your parents against each other to get your driver’s license.

As I started off, now that you are a teenager you SHOULD be able to handle more responsibility. This responsibility is not an automatic gift you receive when you turn 13. This respect you so desperately want is something you have to earn. How do you earn it? You earn it by respecting the rules that your parents have set and by taking care of your responsibilities – for a teen, your primary responsibility is school. This means going to school on a regular basis, doing your homework and turning it in, earning decent grades and not making poor choices such as drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, marijuana or vaporizing. You may say this is unfair, well welcome to the adult world.

Ask your parents how many times they have to do something at work they feel is unfair, but if they want their job they have to do it. Ask your parents how many days they get up tired or not feeling well and they would prefer to stay home from work, but they still go to work. They go to work because the have a family to support and bills to pay. Your parents want you to succeed in life. If you feel they really are not giving you enough freedom, then ask your parents if you can discuss this issue with them. However, ask in a mature, respectful manner do not demand a conversation. When you discuss the issue with your parents have some things you have been doing, e.g., your homework, respecting curfew, that demonstrate you can handle more responsibility. Do not just demand it because your friends have it.

Remember the respect and maturity that you want, you must earn. You earn it by respecting your parents, other adults and recognizing that you have responsibilities. You do not get it because you turned 13 or because your friends have it. This can be a difficult time of life, but it can be a time when you learn a lot about the world and yourself. If you remember you need to earn your parents trust and you actively try to do so, your parents will work with you and start to trust you. The choice is yours, you can make your teen years difficult or make them easier by working with your parents – you decide.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who specializes in treating teenagers. He has over 20 years experience working with teenagers. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work with teenagers or his private practice visit his websites http://www.rcs-ca.com, http://www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/drrubino3.

Dear Mr. President, I am afraid

Dear Mr. President, I am afraid

Dear Mr. President, I am in my therapy appointment and my therapist suggested that I write you a letter. He suggested it because I am afraid. I heard that you got mad at some people who work in Washington and told them to go home. You said they were bad people and should not be living here.

I am afraid because sometimes I get into trouble for not doing my homework and sometimes I do call my parents and teachers names. Are you going to tell me to go home? I’m really afraid if you do because I don’t know where I would go. I always thought my home was our house. I know you said the other people did not deserve to live here. If I don’t live in America, where would I live?

I am also afraid because my parents get mad sometimes and say bad words. Will this make you mad and want to tell them to go home? I don’t know what I would do without my mom and dad. I always thought their home was our house too. Where would you make them go? Would I be able to visit them? Who would I live with?

Sometimes people get mad and say mean words. I do that sometimes. If I say I’m sorry and if my mom and dad say they are sorry, can you forgive them and let them and me live in our house? I love our house. Thank you.

The above letter is from an 8 year old, Caucasian, boy who is going into the third grade. His family has lived in the United States for several generations. However, I have many children in my practice with the same concerns and anxieties. They over hear the news and adults talking and because they are young they have very active imaginations, their fears can become very overwhelming. However, many of these children go to school with children who are Hispanic. Many of these children and their families are very concerned for their safety. All of the families are here legally or have been here for four generations. However, with the threatening tweets and comments made by the President many of these children and families worry about their safety.

Since Trump has become President, I have seen in my practice and it has been documented by the CDC, anxiety disorders for children have increased significantly. Many children are too afraid to leave their parents at home and are having to be put on the home hospital program where a teacher goes to their house. This is occurring in children who are Hispanic and also in children who are Caucasian. I am having children ask can the President make us leave. No child in the second grade should have to deal with this type of anxiety.

I watch the news and I hear commentators refer to all the rhetoric as politics. It is not that simple. The words that are being said or tweeted matter. Children in elementary schools are hearing this rhetoric and it is terrifying them. No child should have to worry about their parents being taken away from them.

The anxiety and trauma children are experiencing now at such a young age can impact how their brains develop and impact their behavior as adults. Many research studies have shown that children experiencing anxiety and trauma such as many children are now, develop mental health issues as adults. As teenagers they are more likely to become involved with drugs. In fact, teenagers are also showing signs that the rhetoric is taking a toll on them too. According to the CDC, suicide was the third leading cause of death for kids 10 to 18 years old. It is now the second leading cause of death. I hear many teenagers tell me with the tweets they hear from the President, they do not see much of a future for themselves. Many believe Trump will start a war at some point.

The point is that words do matter! The political rhetoric needs to stop. We should not be subjecting children and teenagers to this amount of stress. Some people will say I have no right to be speaking up and saying anything about the current administration. The truth is I am the person who needs to speak out. I am providing psychotherapy to these children and teenagers. I hear daily about their fears, what is creating these fears and I see how they are being impacted by these fears! Bottom line the political rhetoric needs to calm down. There are many in Washington D.C., who have a responsibility in stopping it. However, as the President, Mr. Trump has an ethical and moral responsibility to take the first step. He is suppose to be the leader of the United States. Therefore, Mr. Trump do your job as President and set a better example for the children of the United States.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who specializes in treating children and adolescents. He has over 20 years experience working with adolescents. For more information about his work visit his website http://www.RubinoCounseling.com or Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/drrubino3.

Dear Mr. President, I am afraid

Dear Mr. President, I am afraid

Dear Mr. President, I am in my therapy appointment and my therapist suggested that I write you a letter. He suggested it because I am afraid. I heard that you got mad at some people who work in Washington and told them to go home. You said they were bad people and should not be living here.

I am afraid because sometimes I get into trouble for not doing my homework and sometimes I do call my parents and teachers names. Are you going to tell me to go home? I’m really afraid if you do because I don’t know where I would go. I always thought my home was our house. I know you said the other people did not deserve to live here. If I don’t live in America, where would I live?

I am also afraid because my parents get mad sometimes and say bad words. Will this make you mad and want to tell them to go home? I don’t know what I would do without my mom and dad. I always thought their home was our house too. Where would you make them go? Would I be able to visit them? Who would I live with?

Sometimes people get mad and say mean words. I do that sometimes. If I say I’m sorry and if my mom and dad say they are sorry, can you forgive them and let them and me live in our house? I love our house. Thank you.

The above letter is from an 8 year old, Caucasian, boy who is going into the third grade. His family has lived in the United States for several generations. However, I have many children in my practice with the same concerns and anxieties. They over hear the news and adults talking and because they are young they have very active imaginations, their fears can become very overwhelming. However, many of these children go to school with children who are Hispanic. Many of these children and their families are very concerned for their safety. All of the families are here legally or have been here for four generations. However, with the threatening tweets and comments made by the President many of these children and families worry about their safety.

Since Trump has become President, I have seen in my practice and it has been documented by the CDC, anxiety disorders for children have increased significantly. Many children are too afraid to leave their parents at home and are having to be put on the home hospital program where a teacher goes to their house. This is occurring in children who are Hispanic and also in children who are Caucasian. I am having children ask can the President make us leave. No child in the second grade should have to deal with this type of anxiety.

I watch the news and I hear commentators refer to all the rhetoric as politics. It is not that simple. The words that are being said or tweeted matter. Children in elementary schools are hearing this rhetoric and it is terrifying them. No child should have to worry about their parents being taken away from them.

The anxiety and trauma children are experiencing now at such a young age can impact how their brains develop and impact their behavior as adults. Many research studies have shown that children experiencing anxiety and trauma such as many children are now, develop mental health issues as adults. As teenagers they are more likely to become involved with drugs. In fact, teenagers are also showing signs that the rhetoric is taking a toll on them too. According to the CDC, suicide was the third leading cause of death for kids 10 to 18 years old. It is now the second leading cause of death. I hear many teenagers tell me with the tweets they hear from the President, they do not see much of a future for themselves. Many believe Trump will start a war at some point.

The point is that words do matter! The political rhetoric needs to stop. We should not be subjecting children and teenagers to this amount of stress. Some people will say I have no right to be speaking up and saying anything about the current administration. The truth is I am the person who needs to speak out. I am providing psychotherapy to these children and teenagers. I hear daily about their fears, what is creating these fears and I see how they are being impacted by these fears! Bottom line the political rhetoric needs to calm down. There are many in Washington D.C., who have a responsibility in stopping it. However, as the President, Mr. Trump has an ethical and moral responsibility to take the first step. He is suppose to be the leader of the United States. Therefore, Mr. Trump do your job as President and set a better example for the children of the United States.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who specializes in treating children and adolescents. He has over 20 years experience working with adolescents. For more information about his work visit his website http://www.RubinoCounseling.com or Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/drrubino3.