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© Gail Underwood Parker

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Focus on Fostering: Christina Greene and Anxious Kids

This past weekend a young girl died because she was in the right place at the wrong time.  Christina Greene was born on September 11, 2001, in fact selected as a "Face of Hope" celebrating babies born that day.  Her father, in his statement to the press, pointed out that Christina's life was bookended by two tragedies. as her father pointed out in his statement to the press. Her story and that of the other victims, the target, and assailant were all over the news and almost impossible to avoid with the periodic news breaks that happen throughout the day.

Those of us who are raising children with anxiety disorders find the nightly news a challenge.  Children who have experienced violence in their own lives are often particularly vulnerable to anxiety about becoming a victim to violence.  Helping them deal with the fears is always tough, but when a child is killed the fear is more real, making the task of calming your children even tougher. At least with television shows you can be vigilant and be prepared for challenging story lines.  But the news can spring on you with a news flash breaking into whatever your child is watching.

When a news story like this is prominent, be especially supportive, aware of mood changes or behaviors, do your best to keep the routine as normal as possible, and use your best judgement and knowledge of your child to decide if and how to address it.  If the child is school age, avoiding hearing about things like this is not realistic, so be prepared. Be alert. As with almost all the other issues common to children in foster care, the greatest gift you can give them is a sense of safety and love. There is no safety bubble we or any parents can put around our children. Hang in there.. and those of you who are comfortable, say a prayer for the families for whom this is not a distant news story, but a local story, for those for whom this is a tragedy that happened not to someone else, but to people they knew, or to them.

Image credits: and KTLA news [from the family]

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