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Reassuring Children in the Aftermath of the Boston Bombings

PHOTO:   CREDIT: Leonid Mamchenkov
PHOTO: CREDIT: Leonid Mamchenkov
April 16, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In the aftermath of another deadly day in America with the bombings in Boston, parents are being reminded how such events can emotionally traumatize young children.

According to psychologist Korenna Barto, the images and stories splashed everywhere can have a negative effect on a child's well-being, and that's why parents need to provide a safe haven and a secure base.

"And it really just means that you have a person or persons that you know you can always turn to that make you feel safe and valued and help provide an emotional and psychological compass or barometer," she stated.

Barto remarked that a safe haven and secure base are especially important for children through age five.

She said the key in providing a secure base for your children is consistency.

"When children don't get that consistency, they don't feel that their parents, who are there every day, they wake up to, they go to bed to, doesn't give them as secure of a base, as secure a feeling, as someone who is consistently available," she cautioned.

One way to provide that consistency, said Barto, is with regular scheduling of everything from bedtime to family events, and that can be as easy as eating dinner together.

"Special moments when you can even tune everything out for ten minutes and you can focus on one child at a time" are what's needed, she said. "It does wonders for feeding that secure base, and I think family dinners are a great example of that."

A variety of resources on talking to children about tragedy can be found online, at

More information is at

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TN