We, the editorial team at SouthFloridaReporter.com, are feeling the spectrum of emotions that occurs after a tragedy. We watch the families, the vigils, the public outcries and wonder why the world is in turmoil.
On Sunday we drove to Parkland to pay our respects to the victims of last week’s shootings. The outpouring was real and raw. We saw reporters and photographers crying as a constant stream of people left flowers and momentos along the school’s gates.
We happen to have meet two MSD students, Corey Goldfarb and Alex Romeo, both wearing “Douglas Strong” t-shirts. The front of the shirt had the school mascot, two hands praying and the tragic date, 2-14-18. When we asked where could we get one they told us that they made them and all of the money will go to the fund set up to help the families.
If you want to purchase a t-shirt please e-mail us for their phone number. EMail
UPDATE: As of February 20, shirts have sold out. They are expecting a new shipment tomorrow.
So Many Questions
Dr. Dara Bushman is a South Florida psychologist. Like most of us in Broward County, and across the country, the shootings at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland impacted her on many levels both personally and professionally. All last week, Dr. Bushman was a calming force in our community, sharing a message of hope and healing on local television stations. We posed some thought provoking questions to Dr. Bushman. Here are her responses.
What is your reaction to the shooting in Parkland?
My heart is torn for those experiencing devastation and loss. My deepest condolences go to all suffering and in pain.
How do you as a psychologist and a mom, deal with this?
First and foremost, as a mom I hug my babies tight and give gratitude for all the beauty in my world. As a mom, my momma bear nurturance kicks in to do whatever it takes to take care of my baby cubs and keep them safe from harm.
I increase my vigilance of the adult conversation, media and social media I want my children exposed to. I make a conscious effort to recognize the external factors they currently can be exposed to. I am cautious to model the language and behaviors I am comfortable for them to emulate.
As a psychologist my mission strengthens to be able to heal and bring peace to the hearts that are suffering. Also, as a psychologist I feel a greater sense of urgency to aid my community to create comradery and connection to make the world safe to mother my children.
What are some signs parents should look for in their kids?
- Changes in behavior.
- Changes in sleep patterns; inability to sleep, nightmares, or increased sleeping and napping(often during inappropriate times).
- Sudden changes, either decreases or increases of appetite.
- Difficulty communicating, irritability, or aggression.
- Disconnection in relationships and sudden bursts of spending time alone.
- Making new friendships without being forthcoming with information about them.
- Becoming secretive with their plans or hiding details.
- Lack of interest in usual activities that previously had pleasure and often isolating.
- Decreases in communication or difficulty expressing oneself.
When should they be worried?
Parents should be concerned when they begin to notice the signs above. Increased worry or time for a plan of action is when parents feel their children are not responsive to suggestions and feedback.
What do people go through during tragedies like this?
Everyone’s experience is different. No two people’s minds absorb information in the same way. Two people can be in the same situation, under the same duress and their perspectives can be completely different. Some people will experience bouts of sadness as others express it through anger. People often have confusion of mortality and question connection and purpose of religion or higher power. Some people become disconnected with their community finding solstice in silence and fearful to encounter more hurt. Others find comfort from connection and comradery and rely on community for support.
What advice do you have for people who are hurting?
There are no rules or ways of doing it that are right or wrong. There is no perfect. There is only what feels instinctually appropriate for your children and your family. Every family determines what is best for them based on individual needs. It is imperative to let kids know they are safe and they are okay.
Communicate and ask kids how and what their thoughts are. Ask how they are feeling. Listen to them, don’t tell them how they should be feeling. Express to kids what you are feeling in a way that is age appropriate for them to understand.
Model the behaviors that match the emotions you are feeling that you would like your child to emulate. If you are feeling angry, demonstrate it to your child in a way you would like to see them demonstrate it.
Let each child go through this in their own way and maintain bio-individuality. What works for one child may be different for another. There is no right or wrong way to express sadness, grief, or fear. There is no specific timeline of when feelings should begin or end.
How can someone cope with the pain?
First by recognizing there is no perfect, or right or wrong way. Everyone heals at their own pace. It is often the idea of thinking we should be healing better or different than we are doing that creates increased pain, despair, and frustration.
A recommendation to clear emotional preoccupation or sadness is to seek a Rapid Resolution Therapist. Traditional thinking would be for someone to need to experience the pain to cope or to heal. A different way of thinking would be to illuminate someone’s stuckness and create clarity, as then people can truly heal. Often people experience fear at a level below awareness, and believe if they no longer feel pain they will feel less connected, feel less love, or forget an event or person.
Do you send your children back to the school?
Children will respond to your tone and the way you introduce information. They determine whether they feel safe based on the model we represent. Whether a child returns back to school or when they return is to be assessed individually based on the needs and concerns of each child. There is no correct answer, only the answer best for your family.
Should you move? Moving could send a mixed message to your child. If you chose to move, be clear of your intention. Play the tape out of all the potential concerns that could happen in the new location. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Every situation, good or bad can be used as a learning experience and can be approached from a positive perspective to find the value of the situation. It is more important what values and ethics are instilled in the home at a foundational level opposed to relying on external sources to fulfill your family’s needs.
Tips for helping parents comfort their children
There are no rules or ways of comforting children that are right or wrong. There is no perfect way or method. There is only what feels instinctually appropriate for your children and your family. Every family determines what is best for them based on individual needs. It is imperative to let kids know they are safe and they are okay.
Communicate and model
Communicate and ask kids how and what their thoughts are. Ask how they are feeling. Listen to them. Don’t tell them how they should feel. Express to kids how you are feeling in a way that is age appropriate for them to understand. Model the behaviors that match the emotions you are feeling that you would like your child to emulate.
Everyone is unique
Let each child go through this in their own way and maintain bio-individuality. What works for one child may be different for another. There are no correct ways to express sadness, grief, or fear. There are no specific timelines of when feelings should begin or end.
Dr. Dara Bushman, Psy.D., NBCCH, RRT