FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (PARENTS)
The following is a summary of questions frequently asked by parents after a critical incident.
Q. This incident has upset my daughter/son. As there are many rumours circulating, I would like to know what really happened. How can I find that information?
A. The school will inform students and parents of the core details of the incident insofar as they are known. It sometimes takes some time for the true facts to emerge. In the meantime, it is important to stick to the facts as known. Discourage rumour or gossip as it is often incorrect and can be distressing for the families and friends of those involved. Information on social media is not reliable and always needs to be checked.
Q. Will help be available to the students in the school?
A. This will depend on the particular situation. The school will usually put a plan in place for supporting students. This support may include classroom discussion, small group discussion or individual support for students who need it. If there is particular concern about your son or daughter, you will be informed.
Q. How can I help my child?
A. You are the natural support for your child. He/she may want to discuss their feelings and thoughts with you. You can help by listening carefully. You should tell them it is ok to feel the way they do, that people react in many different ways and that they should talk rather than bottle things up. Advise on and monitor safe use of social media.
Q. How long will the grief last?
A. There is no quick answer to this. It varies from individual to individual and according to circumstances. It will also be affected by the closeness of the child to the event or to person who died. Memories of other bereavements may also be brought up by the incident. Be patient and understanding. It can take time.
Q. Since the incident occurred my child has difficulty in sleeping, complains of headaches etc. Can I be sure these are related to the incident?
A. Grief can affect one physically as well as emotionally and these and other symptoms may be part of a grief reaction. If they persist, consult a doctor for a check-up.
Q. If my child remains very upset what should I do?
A. If your child remains distressed after a period of six weeks or so, he/she may need additional support, but there is no fxed rule about the length of the grieving process. If you are very concerned at any point, it is best to seek more help through your GP/HSE Services.
Q. In what ways are adolescents different from other children?
A. During adolescence there are a lot of changes going on for young people and some may feel confused about themselves and the world around them. Grief tends to heighten these feelings and increase the confusion. At this time, too, the individual may look more to friends than to family for support and comfort. Don’t feel rejected by this. Just be available to listen when they need to talk and make sure they know you are there for them when they need you.