Advice for parents in a difficult time

Editor:

With all the publicity being given to victims and priests in the recent church scandal, we want to remind parents of children in the diocese some steps they can take to watch for behavioral changes and to answer questions children may have.

* Watch for changes in sleep, appetite, mood and concentration.

* Watch for sudden outbursts or irritability or social withdrawal.

* If changes persist for two weeks or more, consider speaking with a counselor.

* Make special effort to ask their children questions about what they’re hearing in school and what they think about all they’re hearing.

* If the child asks a question, answer in simple, honest, direct fashion at the child’s level.

* Don’t assume because children don’t ask first, that they don’t have any questions. Often they need to be prompted. “If I were in your shoes, I might feel angry (or betrayed, hurt, etc.) How are you feeling about this?”

* Remind children that because they may have lost trust in one person, that doesn’t mean they can’t trust anyone else. It’s not a black-white issue. Let them know they can trust their parents for love, support, and honesty.

* If the child begins to question his or her faith, this is an opportunity for parents to step up to the plate and spend some time praying with their child and to discuss spiritual issues more so now than before.

Reassure the child that God is the head of the church, not human beings who are subject to making sometimes huge mistakes.

God uses weak people to also do good on earth.

John Bertschler,

Patti Bertschler,

Independence, Ohio

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