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June 16th, 2010

The Gulf Oil Disaster Images Hurt Kids

Children have been bombarded with horrific images of the Gulf oil disaster. Pelicans covered in oil, tar balls rolling in with the waves, and beaches turning dark with oil are only a few of the heartbreaking pictures of the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history. Anxiety in children grows as they see these potent images day after day.

Kids and teens worry about what will happen next and may express some of these legitimate concerns: Will the animals die? Will the oil come to where I live or visit? What will happen to the fish? Is it dangerous? Will grown-ups be able to fix this?

Parents want to know how to help their children cope with the emotional trauma of the Gulf oil disaster. There is a new approach to teaching children skills which can strengthen them when dealing with stress of trauma and loss, such as this latest American tragedy. The skills that can help young people cope are called resilience skills, and there are 20 of these powerful skills in the award-winning Build UpYour Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™. The Tool Kit teaches children and teens in grades K-12 strategies to deal with anxiety about their future, cope with change and loss, lessen the power of scary images, manage their worries about grown-ups, and handle feelings of sadness, fear, and anger.

There are two editions of the Resilience Tool Kit. The Elementary School Edition for ages 5-11 is an interactive experience between children and their parents or other adults. Children benefit greatly when an adult learns resilience tools too. Clearly, the Gulf oil disaster has had an enormous impact on adults as well as entire communities. Adults can benefit too from learning resilience tools, as they help guide the child. The High School/Middle School Edition of the Resilience Tool Kit for ages 11-18 is more sophisticated, and designed to address the specific needs of this older age group. Children and teens directly affected by the Gulf Oil Disaster, as well as young people anxious about its impact can learn to navigate this latest challenge in a strong and hopeful manner.