Children who experience a disaster — even if only secondhand — can express fear or confusion, and the adults in their lives can take steps to reassure them of their safety, according to the state Health Department.
In the aftermath of something such as the school shooting last week in Connecticut, children can exhibit a variety of symptoms.
Children age 5 and younger are heavily influenced by their parents' reactions to stressful events, according to the Health Department.
Children may worry that the traumatic event could happen again. They can be afraid to be apart from relatives and may cry more than usual. Some may even regress in behavior, such as bed-wetting or thumbsucking.
They may experience nightmares. They may become withdrawn, or, on the other end of the spectrum, they may become hyperactive.
Older children also may withdraw and have trouble sleeping, according to the Health Department.
They may be afraid to go to school, and when they're there, they may struggle to concentrate. They may feel frustrated with adults for not preventing frightening events in the first place. They may feel angry or ill.
Teens also may struggle in school for a bit, according to the Health Department. They may complain of illness. Some will compete for extra attention.