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Parent Information


Much of the crisis recovery work with students is best done by parents. When people experience a crisis, family routines are often disrupted and parents often face additional tasks and demands on their time.  A crisis can effect the members of one family or an entire community. It is often hard for young children to understand what has happened during times of crisis.  Some children may have completely confused views of the situation and may need your continued guidance and understanding through the experience.  How you help your own children work through their difficult times may have a lasting effect.

Children can experience the same intense feelings that adults feel about a crisis.  This is a normal reaction.  Some children may show their feelings in a direct and immediate fashion, while others will wait until a later time.  Most children will be confused by any sudden interruptions to their routeins. Crisis situations are difficult for both children and adults.

Each child in a family may react differently to crisis.  Some children may:

  • Become more active and restless;
  • Worry where they will live, and what will happen to them if homes have been damaged;
  • Become upset easily, with crying and whining;
  • Become withdrawn or depressed; and/or
  • Feel afraid at night or when alone.

Reproduced from a document prepared by the Association of California School Administrators



Parents would like to protect their children from the hard facts of life, but they cannot.  When a family death occurs, the children are affected and may react in different ways depending upon their age and experience.  Adults should remember the following points:

  • Children need to be allowed to respond to the death of a family member in their own way.  each family member's relationship with the deceased is unique and their response to the loss may vary from one person to another.  Children must be allowed to respond in a way that is right for them, even if they act as though nothing is wrong following a death.
  • It is important not to exclude children when grieving.  Parents need to talk about their sadness with their children.  Often children will blame themselves for their parents' sadness if the subject is not discussed openly.  very young children especially will view adults' anger, frustration, or sadness as being something for which they are responsible.
  • Young children do not perceive that death is permanent.  Children may see death as a bogeyman or as an invader who is coming to get them.  Children over age 12 can understand death as adults do.  The issue of death may become religious or philosophical, and they may question the justice of God who allowed the death to happen.  It is not uncommon for adolescents nad teens to have difficulty expressing their emotions regarding death and loss.
  • Grief can be a critical problem for children.  If a parent sees major changes in a child--such as a change in sleeping and eating habits, a drop in grades, or talk of suicide--within 18 months after a significant death, the family should seek professional counseling.


Adapted with permission from the Los Angeles Unified School District

Gateway Regional School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, homelessness, gender identity or disability. Alice Taverna, 12 Littleville Road, Huntington, MA 01050, 413.685.1019, is the person designated under CR 11A to coordinate compliance under Title IX and Section 504.