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Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School: AJFCS' Response

Derek Hurwitch
Communications Department
February 15, 2018

Pray for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

 

AJFCS' Response & How to Talk to Your Children

 

The Board of Directors and staff of Alpert Jewish Family Family & Children’s Service would like to express our deepest sympathy to all those affected by yesterday’s senseless tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

We know this event is not only close to home, but close to our hearts.

In the wake of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Alpert Jewish Family and Children's Service is offering families and students sessions to cope with this horrific tragedy, led by clinical professionals. The dates for these sessions are February 15-22.

TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN:

"What did you hear?"

By now, it is likely that your child has heard about the shooting in class or from friends, but kids can easily get the facts wrong or misinterpret them, which escalates their fears. Grade-schoolers especially tend to exaggerate things -- "That school is right next to ours!" or "50,000 kids were shot" -- and you want to make sure your child's not worrying over something completely unfounded.

Consider reading the newspaper together as a jumping-off point for conversation and to give them an easy way to bring up tough questions. But if you see them catching the news on TV, don't let them tune in solo: According to a recent survey, tweens find tragic breaking news stressful and frightening without an adult there to help them interpret the information. And go with your gut: Emotional TV images may be too disturbing for sensitive children; in that case, you might be better off talking things through without visuals.

"What are your friends saying?"

Children ages 11-17 -- and boys especially -- might be reluctant to open up and let you know that they're afraid or worried for their own safety. But they might be more apt to come clean with if you ask them a question about their friends. "Are any of your friends worried or saying anything about what happened?" A question like this might help with your child discussing their own issues more openly through the window of discussing their friends.

Your child simply may not verbally express any feelings or thoughts on what took place. That, however, is not the only thing to watch for. As parents, you should watch for key changes in behavior over the next few days and weeks. The following signs may indicate that your child is stressed and having trouble coping:

  • Suddenly not wanting to go to school or other public forums
  • Eating pattern changes (eating more or less than usual)
  • Temperment changes (easily aggrevated)
  • Difficulty Sleeping (nightmares, trouble falling or staying asleep)
  • Physical ailments/issues (stomach pains, headaches, etc.)

If you were unable to attend one of these workshops, there are still many ways that Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service can assist. Our award-winning mental health department is available for you and your loved ones.

We are only a phone call away.

If you need more information about any of the below sessions, please contact Dr. Elaine Rotenberg, AJFCS's Clinical Director, at erotenberg@jfcsonline.com

 

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Thursday, February 15 at 7 p.m. 

FOR TEENS

Temple Beth Torah 

900 Big Blue Trace, Wellington 

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Monday, February 19 at 6:45 p.m.

Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service 

5841 Corporate Way 

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Wednesday, February 21 at 4 p.m.

Temple Beth Torah 

900 Big Blue Trace, Wellington

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Thursday, February 22 at 6 p.m.

JCC - Palm Beach Gardens 

5221 Hood Rd 

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Thursday, Feb 22 at 5:30 p.m.

FOR TEENS

JCC - Boynton Beach 

8500 Jog Rd

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Thursday, Feb 22 at 6:30 p.m.

JCC - Boynton Beach 

8500 Jog Rd