Natural disasters can be hard for children to understand

MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – When natural disasters hit and take everything you’ve worked for, it can feel like everything has turned upside down.

Adults can usually adjust, but kids may find that adjustment difficult.

Most adults have learned that not everything goes as planned, and sometimes you’re forced to roll with the punches.

However, children may have a hard time understanding what’s happening and why.

As tornadoes have caused damage around north Mississippi, people are trying to find their way back to “normal” and kids may find themselves struggling to adjust to this new reality.

Tornadoes can strike any time of the year in Mississippi, and this Spring has been particularly active.

Already people from Pontotoc, Tupelo, Amory, and Winona have been impacted by these natural disasters.

Homes, businesses, and even schools were damaged or destroyed, and community members and volunteers are working hard to build these towns back up.

Often times children are left wondering: why did this happen?

And when school is back in session it may be hard for them to focus.

Monroe County School District Superintendent Chad O’Brian is not new to dealing with tornado damage. He was a coach at Smithville when the town and school were ravaged by a tornado.

He said it is important that teachers ease students back into the curriculum.

“I think another thing that we have to look at is a sense of normalcy and how important it is to get schools back up and running. To establish that routine kids understand that something may have happened to a house but life will go on and life will be normal. All of those things are what we refer to as things that are replaceable. You know we can’t replace human life but houses and cars and things of that nature we can replace that but it is important to give a sense of normalcy to these kids so they can understand that my life as I know it will continue,” said O’Brian.

Helping the children understand is where counselors come in.

Ray Evins Executive Director of Community Counseling Services said when anyone is faced with trauma the first step is to address the problem.

“Understanding that they’ve experienced a trauma and they will have some effects from dreams to sleep disturbance and maybe appetite disturbance and maybe some change in their raw behavior that parents notice and that is the telltale sign that they are still dealing with lost life or property,” said Evins.

Trauma can happen to anyone at any time.

Evins said it’s a good idea to talk to someone that can help.

“If you look at any kind of trauma you can’t say that you’ll be over it in a year or two years but if you get the help that you need you can start processing it and learning to deal with it a lot sooner,” said Evins.

Evins said that if you or your child feel like this has happened to you feel free to call Community Counseling for help.

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