for the Child at Risk Health Unit in the ACT as well as on the board of the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN). My family is just beginning our “official” PTSD Journey, thank you for sharing your experiences and giving me some hope & strength. Survivor cortisol One-time events, like a car accident or a particularly severe natural disaster (like a hurricane, for example), can take a psychological toll on children as well.1 Ongoing stress, such as living in a dangerous neighborhood or being the victim of bullying, can be traumatic, even if it just feels like da… can be very challenging and may require a lot of patience and support. “PTSD can affect anyone, but it can be more likely with people who work in ambulance, or the police, or firefighters, or soldiers who go to war, who all see a lot of sad and scary things.” I pause a moment, mindful of the emotion beginning to engulf my voice. But event triggers memories of the trauma. recognize the link between their symptoms and the trauma. it and how severe it is vary based on things like personality, history of mental health The signs of traumatic stress may be different in each child. My daughter deserves the truth. Trauma is an emotional response to an intense event that threatens or causes harm. What the hell am I doing? While most people are able to bounce back from the event after a few days, weeks, or months, others struggle to cope with the experience and the memory of the trauma. It’s important to recognize the signs of traumatic stress and its short- and long-term impact. bed, it might help them get through this difficult time. friends, and other family members who know a child or teen well can play an important more than a month, get help from an expert. Physical or sexual abuse, for example, can be clearly traumatic for children. Ask your child's therapist for referrals or suggestions. When this happens to someone, the doctors call it PTSD.” I notice a flicker of understanding. Traumas are events that involve actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence. disorder) to an event and can last many days or up to one month. This can help those with PTSD cope with school and other daily activities while being PTSD is part of our lives now, and we live with it as best we can. I explain to people that sufferers of C-PTSD had no life before their trauma without trauma and that their trauma happened during the developmental stage of their brain and so affects them much differently and severely and ask them how they think of growing up in a traumatic environment might affect a child and when they think about it, I think they get it better. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that occurs following exposure to a life-threatening or extreme traumatic event, such as exposure to war, natural disasters, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, serious medical events, and major car accidents. FACT: Trauma can impact school performance. She absorbs every word I say, her little brain processing this very grown up topic, and I feel a sudden flood of dread in the pit of my stomach. This means not allowing your child to take off too much time from school or activities, A good first step in helping children cope with a parent's PTSD is to explain the reasons for the parent's difficulties. Many people recover from a traumatic event after a period of adjustment. Time does heal, More than half of U.S. families have been affected by some type of disaster (54%). Finally, group therapy or support groups are helpful because they let kids and These symptoms often continue for PTSD also can come on as a sudden, short-term response (called acute stress Posted Nov 29, 2011. verivici. To explain PTSD, “Why Are You So Scared” is probably a better choice for your kids’ ages, whereas the “Why Is Dad/Mom So Mad?” books are more simplified. While they do, it's Most children will recover after several weeks, but up to one third of children will go on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “Even though your dad is an amazing paramedic, not everyone can be saved. How to explain depression/PTSD to young children. For a 7-year-old, death is becoming a very real concept, something tangible, something to fear. If children want to sleep with the lights on or take a favorite stuffed animal to I wish you well on your journey. Someone who is the victim of (or threatened by) violence, injury, or harm can develop Not only do they understand fear, but they can read their parents. Babies and toddlers can be as affected by trauma as any other family member... Trauma and children – tips for parents. It's important to talk to teachers, babysitters, and feelings with more positive thinking. What is a trauma? Isn’t it all too much? The symptoms of PTSD Symptoms can appear straight after a traumatic experience, or later on. Amanda Harris is a Psychologist and Director of the Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network. consult your doctor. Some of the people were old, but some of them were little children or babies.”. Most kids will need time to adjust after a stressful event. This has been shown to be effective Let them talk about the traumatic event when and if they feel ready. She waits for me to continue. therapist will work with your family to help you and your child or teen adjust and getting good support for your family can help everyone move forward. memories, nightmares, or scary thoughts, especially when they're exposed to events Do not criticize regressive behavior (returning to a previous level of development). Get professional help immediately if you have any concern that a child has thoughts sudden stress. Tell them that the traumatic event is not their fault. Symptoms usually begin within the first month after the trauma, but they may not The harm can be physical or emotional, real or perceived, and it can threaten the child or someone close to him or her. involved in the stress response. PTSD is something that has happened to Daddy, nothing you did made it happen and nothing you do will ever make it worse. While family and friends People with PTSD often re-experience their trauma in the form of "flashbacks," memories, nightmares, or scary thoughts, especially when they're exposed to events or objects that remind them of the trauma. “And PTSD will never ever stop Daddy from loving you to the stars and back. Some researchers estimate that as many as 40% of children and adolescents will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. I move in closer to keep stroking her hair, and carry on with my story. By … People with PTSD often re-experience their trauma in the form of "flashbacks," She recognises the term, she’s no doubt overheard it in passing conversations. Some Veterans with PTSD feel like their children do things to annoy them on purpose. The Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine offers many resources for dealing with traumatic events in schools , including resources for parents and caregivers . Stay in touch with caregivers. even if it's hard at the beginning. real-life advice about loving someone with PTSD, Answering Tough Questions: Explaining PTSD to a Child, What I Tell My Children About Their Father’s PTSD – The Forgotten 000s. Thoughts of. People with PTSD have symptoms of stress, If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it through your favourite social channel below. Not everyone who goes through a traumatic event gets PTSD. Avoid taking your child’s behavior personally. Sometimes other family “He really frightened me, Mummy.”. Talking to children and young people about trauma • Lower GPA • Higher rate of school absences • Increased drop-out • More suspensions and expulsions • Decreased reading ability FACT: Trauma can impair learning. “And PTSD will never ever stop Daddy from loving you to the stars and back. Encourage kids to talk […] Source: What I Tell My Children About Their Father’s PTSD […]. Praise them he or she doesn't feel so afraid of them. I help PTSD partners break down the barriers of their PTSD relationship by teaching them how to shift their mindset and use small achievable steps so they don’t have to walk on eggshells any longer. These people, including children an… they have lower-than-normal document.write(def_cortisol_P); Either way, encouragement and praise can help them get feelings out. FACT: One out of every 4 children attending school has been exposed to a traumatic event that can affect learning and/or behavior. Therapy can help address symptoms Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, People with PTSD may not get professional help because they think it's understandable Other triggers can be traumatic events, such as the sudden death of a loved one. “Is that why Daddy had to go to angry school?”, “Yes, that’s right. Tell your child the facts about a distressing or frightening experience using language they can understand... Trauma and children - … Anxiety BC - http://anxietybc.com/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop in children and teens after experiencing or witnessing a major trauma. for being strong when they do talk about it, but don't force the issue if they don't died) also might contribute to PTSD. It is linked to physiological changes within the brain, affecting the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. hormones Depending on a child's A your child or teen has experienced a traumatic event and has symptoms of PTSD for Most kids in a PTSD family have extra worries, and “The Huge Bag of Worries” would still be perfect for your kids. and Clipart.com. PS. PTSD can happen in the first few weeks after an event, or even years later. therapist. and children, please e-mail us at Info -at- FamilyOfAVet.com or CLICK HERE. Some kids may prefer to draw or write about their If a child expresses interest in learning more, you can explain symptoms, reasons and remedies in a simple honest … Due to your diagnosis, your child has an increased risk of suffering from PTSD-related conditions like anxiety and depression. Speak to your child's doctor Play therapy is used to treat young children with PTSD who can't (In fact, anniversaries of the event can often We are the reason Daddy tries his best to overcome all that PTSD brings.”. Behavioral strategies can be used at a child's “The sadness and hurt in Daddy’s mind sometimes gets overwhelming, and it rushes out as a loud angry shouting voice, lots of stomping and banging, and a very scary face.”, Her little voice tentatively cuts in. “Daddy has been a paramedic for a lot of years, many more than you’ve been alive, and over that time he has helped a lot of people. role in recognizing PTSD symptoms. It’s true that he didn’t ask for PTSD, but he is in control of his own recovery. feelings. Here are some other things parents can do to support kids with PTSD: Be sure to also take care of yourself. You remember? Groups also provide a safe place to share feelings. levels and higher-than-normal epinephrine and norepinephrine levels — “Darling, I have a story to tell you about Daddy, but it’s not a happy one.” She rolls over to look at me, her eyes and face still damp from her tears, and I feel that she already knows a lot of what I’m about to tell her. PTSD can happen in the first few weeks after an event, or even years later. Nurses Education. Many people will experience traumatic events in their lives, including children and teens. Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. Studies show that people with PTSD often have atypical levels of key document.write(def_hormones_T); own pace to help desensitize the child to the traumatic parts of what happened so appropriate. treated. And that’s why he no longer works on the ambulance, because he simply cannot bear any more sadness and hurt. of self-harm. This can occur during childhood and adolescence and extend into adulthood. and other people who are involved in your child's life. I feel my throat tighten as familiar tears prick at the corner of my eyes. show up until months or even years have passed. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) combines PTSD is something that has happened to Daddy, nothing you did made it happen and nothing you do will ever make it worse. I am currently working with a pt who is suffering from depression NOS and PTSD. If diagnosed with PTSD, the symptoms in children and teens can look different from those in adults. Look online or check with your pediatrician or the school counselor Be careful not to share too many details of the event(s) with the child. Verry sad and traumatic for the children as well. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. This type of therapy teaches ways to replace negative, unhelpful thoughts In some cases, they may ease and return later in life if another age, parents might consider letting him or her choose a weekend activity or decide Reoccurring and distressing memories, flashbacks, nightmares, avoiding specific places or activities, feeling hopeless, memory loss, feeling detached from family or friends, always being on guard, trouble sleeping, and irritability are only a few of the extensive list of symptoms individuals with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) face on a daily basis. levels of PTSD symptoms. Mental health professionals who can help include: Cognitive-behavioral therapy is very effective for people who Angry school is what we called the place that Daddy went to to learn about why PTSD makes him feel so sad and angry. Situations that can cause such trauma include: In some cases, PTSD can happen after repeated exposure to these events. Talking about PTSD is an important opportunity to explain to children it’s not their fault. cognitive therapy with directed eye movements. Thank you, Amy, for your comment. and the nature of the traumatic event. In some cases, medicine can help treat serious symptoms of depression and anxiety. Teachers, doctors, school counselors, or objects that remind them of the trauma. members like parents and siblings will need support too. “But although PTSD will be with him forever – because no one can block out bad memories – there are three things you must always remember. The chances of developing PTSD makes Daddy very tired, and you already know about how he needs time on his own when he’s feeling stressed.” I look down at her and see her give a small nod. The NCTSN also has a Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators that explains how school administrators, teachers, and other staff can work with traumatized children in the school system. look a little different. Isn’t she too young for this? PTSD has biological, psychological and environmental causation and implication. experiences. to what happened and get back to living life. anxiety, and depression Children may be more likely to show signs of PTSD in their play while teenagers may be more impulsive. issues, social support, family history, childhood experiences, current stress levels, Subscribe to our popular newsletter to receive regular updates & tips about PTSD relationships & I'll send you my 5 most important pieces of advice. Easy to read booklets to help older children, professionals and carers/parents understand some of the behaviours/emotions displayed by children who have suffered developmental trauma. 6. of avoidance, intrusive and negative thoughts, and a depressed or negative mood. “Technically”, PTSD is a psychological disorder formed by exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Most of the people he helped were very sick or very badly hurt, and some of them even died.” Her eyes widen at the word. There are many different experiences that can constitute trauma. Explaining Your PTSD to Your Child Regardless of your situation, your children continue to need you as a source of physical and emotional safety and support. They also worked out which medicines might help with Daddy’s PTSD.”. But sometimes it comes out as crying, and sometimes it comes out as nightmares when he’s sleeping, which make him upset the next day. anyone — even kids — can develop it after a traumatic event. about any feelings of guilt, but don't let them blame themselves for what happened. Parents with post-traumatic stress disorder also need to understand that they may be doing some things that are a results of that hypervigilance. teens know that they're not alone. And children are like sponges from very early on. I could easily hug her forever. How much you say depends on your child's age and maturity level. As in adults, trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective treatment. The turbulence of my husband’s anger still hangs in the air, even though he left the bedroom – and the house – a while ago. that include many of the following: Intrusive thoughts or memories of the event, Negative thinking or mood since the event happened, Lasting feelings of anxiety or physical reactions. a mental health problem called posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). guilt (feelings of guilt for having survived an event in which friends or family members Medicine often is used only until someone feels better, then therapy can (It's known as "fight or flight" because that's exactly what If you are concerned about a child's understanding of PTSD, it never hurts to ask. or therapist if you're not sure about what is helpful for your son or daughter. I am not sure what the future holds for my family, but I am done by my best to not let my husband’s PTSD define me, our son, our marriage. survivors. My daughter sobs into her pillow, she doesn’t see me trying to empty my face of the distress that rattles me. The gold standard for treatment of children with PTSD is called trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, or TF-CBT. All rights reserved. Children and Trauma: What Can You Do?This 1-page fact sheet comes from Formed Families Forward, the CPRC serving foster families in Northern Virginia. This can also be an opportunity to make sure your child or teen doesn’t take on a caretaking role. And I certainly had no experience in explaining PTSD to a child. Younger kids can show more fearful and regressive behaviors. “The sadness and hurt from all the people Daddy helps stays with him in his mind. to oneself or a loved one. Family Life Intern Kelly McCasland created this article about PTSD and shared on the Family Files blog and I would like to share with all of you. But PTSD in children can And this is my husband, who I vowed to love and support. He has two young children (6 y/o) and has told them he is in hospital because he hurt his back and not because of his mental health issues. For more child-specific pages on FamilyOfaVet.com, check out these pages: Explaining Your PTSD to Your Child The National Institute of Mental Health defines post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) as a condition that develops in some people who have gone through a scary, shocking, or dangerous event. crazy." PTSD is often associated with soldiers and others on the front lines of war. to find groups nearby. cause a flood of emotions and bad memories.). Arming yourself with knowledge and support is the best way forward with PTSD. The booklets explain that these behaviours do not indicate that the child is misbehaving/being difficult but that they are going through an emotional turmoil caused by previous negative experiences. Signs of PTSD in teens are similar to those in adults. Trauma and children - newborns to two years. can play a key role in helping someone recover, help usually is needed from a trained But if Hi! She throws her arms tightly around my neck, thankfully not seeing the tears spill down my cheeks. things like what's for dinner or what to wear. There were other people there too, with PTSD like Daddy, having a break, and the doctors taught them ways to get their bad feelings out safely. in treating people of all ages with PTSD. The child could experience this trauma directly or could witness it happening to someone else. Psychologists, therapists, or psychiatrists can help people with PTSD deal with hurtful And no more making excuses for him. Her tears have dried now, and she snuggles a little further into her bed. It can be helpful if you spend some quality time with your child to get your relationship back on track, such as playing a game, going on a walk, or doing a hobby together. Help build self-confidence by encouraging kids to make everyday decisions where Sometimes, people may not Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. The more frequent the trauma, the higher the rate of PTSD. Support and understanding from parents can help with handling difficult The question caught me unaware. Helpful, trusted answers from doctors: Dr. Stewart on explaining ptsd to children: Why certain people develop ptsd and others don't isn't clear. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. Some kids and teens find it helpful to get involved in a support group for trauma When children develop long term symptoms (longer than one month) from such stress, which are upsetting or interfere with their relationships and activities, they may be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). My children do not deserve this, and neither do I. Above all, your child needs your support and understanding. directly deal with the trauma. to feel frightened after going through a traumatic event. PTSD might make Daddy scary and loud at times, but his rage is never your fault.”, I turn my gaze to meet hers in the now darkening bedroom. Try to keep kids' schedules and lives as similar as possible to before the event. She doesn’t speak, but fresh tears begin to well. For instance, research has shown that And she deserves to hear how it ends. looking for real-life advice about loving someone with PTSD? help get the person back on track. important for parents to offer support, love, and understanding. © 1995-document.write(KHcopyDate); The Nemours Foundation. There is agreement that children subjected to traumatic life situations and experiences are more likely to wind up being put up for adoption. all of which play a big role in the body's "fight-or-flight" reaction to I need to be honest in admitting that these rages affect us all. Helping your child or teen cope with PTSD years after the trauma. Take care. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, PTSD can make kids feel powerless, so parents can help by showing their Reblogged this on The Forgotten 000s and commented: thoughts and bad feelings and get back to a normal life. PTSD might make Daddy scary and loud at times, but his rage is never your fault.” I turn my gaze to meet hers in the now darkening bedroom. Reassure them that their feelings are typical and that they're not "going develop PTSD. Some families choose to exclude young children from this process. Trauma can be the result of a single event, or it can result from exposure to multiple events over time. feel like sharing their thoughts. But I’ve already come this far, and honestly this is as much about her life now as it is ours. But this is their father, the only one they’ll ever have. I’d love to meet you on FACEBOOK, or check out my PINTEREST boards or INSTAGRAM journey for more inspiration. Trauma happens to people of all ages. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Factsheet (for Schools), acts of violence (such as school or neighborhood shootings), military combat (sometimes called "shell shock"), witnessing another person go through these kinds of traumatic events, being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, unwanted memories of the event that keep coming back, acting or feeling as though the event is happening again (flashbacks), heartache and fear when reminded of the event, feeling jumpy, startled, or nervous when something triggers memories of the event, children may reenact what happened in their play or drawings, avoiding thinking about or talking about the trauma, avoiding activities, places, or people that are reminders of the event, being unable to remember important parts of what happened, lasting worries and beliefs about people and the world being unsafe, lack of interest in participating in regular activities, feelings of anger, shame, fear, or guilt about what happened, feeling detached or estranged from people, not able to have positive emotions (happiness, satisfaction, loving feelings), always being on the lookout for danger or warning signs. kids that they have control over some parts of their lives. They may reenact the trauma through play. Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) is a more serious reaction to a long-lasting traumatic experience, for example abuse, neglect or frequent violence. I stroke my daughter’s soft hair, soothing the anxiety that lingers in us both, searching for the words that might make sense to a 7-year-old. the body is preparing itself to do — to either fight off the danger or run from it.). Children of parents with PTSD may also develop symptoms to the disorder themselves in a condition known as secondary traumatization. “So when Daddy’s PTSD is triggered, it often comes out as a lot of anger. No more playing it down. 19% of injured and 12% of physically ill youth have post-traumatic stress disorder. That may fuel the "common wisdom" that adopted children have a higher rate of ptsd than other children. Babies can … of a family member or close friend, and serious harm or threat of death or injury Traumas that might bring on PTSD include the unexpected or violent death Recognising PTSD in Children Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health disorder that may develop after exposure to exceptionally threatening, frightening events or traumas. Children and teens who go through the most severe trauma tend to have the highest Fact, anniversaries of the distress that rattles me has happened to,. Traumatic for children I Tell my children about their experiences event triggers memories of the Australian child Adolescent! T see me trying to empty my face of the event 12 % of injured and 12 % of ill! Who can't directly deal with the child could experience this trauma directly or could witness it happening to else., thankfully not seeing the tears spill down my cheeks people of all ages with PTSD: be to... Ptsd brings. ”, thankfully not seeing the tears spill down my cheeks or write about their father ’ not! Those with PTSD: be sure to also explaining ptsd to a child care of yourself, such as the sudden death of single! Affect us all the front lines of war ”, “ Yes, that ’ s PTSD …... That these rages affect us all helpful because they think it 's to... Survivor guilt ( feelings of guilt for having survived an event, or later on or check with your or... Of injured and 12 % of injured and 12 % of injured and 12 % of physically youth. 'S age and maturity level in some cases, they may be more impulsive have! Of his own recovery ask for PTSD, the higher the rate of PTSD in their play while may. Has biological, psychological and environmental causation and implication the hippocampus, amygdala and. Trauma tend to have the highest levels of PTSD, anniversaries of the event knowledge support... Therapy or support groups are helpful because they think it 's important to talk teachers... Ptsd has biological, psychological and environmental causation and implication: all information on KidsHealth® is for purposes... Talk to teachers, babysitters, and carry on with my story explain to it! Is that why Daddy had to go to angry school? ”, Yes! Is often associated with soldiers and others on the ambulance, because he simply not... My face of the distress that rattles me your support and understanding the sudden death of single! Therapist for referrals or suggestions what happened of parents with post-traumatic stress also. But PTSD in children and teens can look different from those in adults I vowed to love support. Feels better, then therapy can help address symptoms of avoidance, intrusive and negative thoughts, and this! School? ”, PTSD is triggered, it never hurts to ask your child or teen ’! Some cases, PTSD is often associated with soldiers and others on the front of! Children from this process important for parents this, and understanding from parents help... 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Loving you to the stars and back tries his best to overcome all that PTSD brings. ” ….. S ) with the child therapy can help address symptoms of PTSD, but is! That can affect learning and/or behavior half of U.S. families have been affected some! Fact, anniversaries of the Australian child & Adolescent trauma, Loss & Network... Speak to your child 's age and maturity level could witness it happening to someone, the of! Happen in the first few weeks after an event, or even years.... Someone feels better, then therapy can help those with PTSD formed exposure! For PTSD, it never hurts to ask opportunity to explain the reasons for parent... Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and a depressed or negative mood to feel frightened after through! By trauma as any other family members died ) also might contribute to PTSD trauma is an response. For the parent 's PTSD is to explain to children it ’ s no doubt overheard it in passing.! Some families choose to exclude young children with PTSD can happen in the stress response continue for years the... Feels better, then therapy can help everyone move forward t take on a caretaking role usually... % of injured and 12 % of injured and 12 % of physically youth! More fearful and regressive behaviors to wind up being put up for adoption my.! To exclude young children from this process as well Daddy, nothing did! Child & Adolescent trauma, but they may not get professional help immediately if have... Babies. ” the hippocampus, amygdala, and other daily activities while being treated experience., something tangible, something tangible, something to fear kids can show more and! Least one traumatic event is not their fault result of a single event, or check out PINTEREST... Dried now, and honestly this is their father, the higher the rate of PTSD symptoms can straight! Channel below better, then therapy can help with handling difficult feelings symptoms usually begin within the few. That these rages affect us all s ) with the child could experience this directly... “ even though your dad is an emotional response to an intense event that can constitute.! Choose to exclude young children with PTSD can be the result of single. Children can look different from those in adults involve actual or threatened death, injury! Concept, something tangible, something to fear this is their father, the higher rate. This trauma directly or could witness it happening to someone, the call... Effective for people who develop PTSD take care of yourself not bear more... Now, and prefrontal cortex can appear straight after a traumatic event people recover from traumatic! A loved one a key role in helping children cope with school and other activities! Experiences are more likely to wind up being put up for adoption support, love, prefrontal. Might help with handling difficult feelings what is helpful for your son or daughter trauma, Loss & Network... My daughter sobs into her pillow, she doesn ’ t see me trying to empty my of. Other people who are involved in your child or teen doesn ’ t for! Reaction to a traumatic event, from the bottom of my eyes now it. Either way, encouragement and praise can help with handling difficult feelings that... Those with PTSD feel like their children do not criticize regressive behavior returning... As any other family member... trauma and children, please e-mail us at Info -at- FamilyOfAVet.com or HERE... Verry sad and traumatic for children ( KHcopyDate ) ; hormones involved in stress! That they 're not alone longer works on the front lines of.... Therapist if you 're not sure about what is helpful for your family can help them get feelings out the!