Excerpt from Noah's New Puppy: Guidance to Parents (Rice with Henderson)

Parent’s Guide

This story encourages conversations between parents and their young children about PTSD, post-deployment issues, or parents suffering from depression.

       It is understandable that some of you might be feeling anxious about talking to your child about such difficult topics - this is normal. What is important to remember is that you are not there to talk to your child about trauma. Instead, it is best to focus on some of the emotions that they have seen you experience, like fear, panic, sadness. These are all emotions children can understand as they have experienced these emotions themselves at some point in their lives. They can relate to how you feel by asking them to remember a time when they had a nightmare or got lost in a store.

       When you are talking to your child, it is essential to be an active listener. You should be listening more than speaking. Some children may find it hard to express themselves, so it is vital that you, during the conversation, repeat back in your own words what your child has said and ask if you understood correctly.

       Children often feel like your difficulties are their fault.
It is normal for children to feel like your difficulties are their fault. It is important to express to your child that this is not the case, that you love them very much and that there is a plan in place to make things better. Let them know that they can talk to you at any time.

It never hurts to end the conversation with a HUG.

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