Children First: Coping and Healing

By: Jason Simpson
By: Jason Simpson

There are many obstacles in a child's life that can cause psychological distress.

Violent crimes in schools, suicide and home life difficulties often are too much for a child to cope with alone.

Dr. Lee Marlow, director of Children and Youth Services at Weems Mental Health, said many times it's hard to deal with problems because children focus so much on their role in the situation.

"One of the things children often do is question their relation with either that person or the incident, why wasn't it me, or why was it them. Why did it have to be them?" said Marlow.

Weems Division of Children and Youth Services provides counseling for those generally under the age of 18, depending on circumstances.

Marlow said when a child is dealing with psychological or emotional trauma, the best thing to do is listen.

"If you'll listen to see what they're saying most times they'll tell you I feel this or that, and they're just seeking validation that it's okay to feel that," Marlow said.

Tragic events like the student death at Northeast Lauderdale High this week are big issues that counselors from Weems help children overcome. But the parent's role is important too.

"They are the ones with the child day after day after day, and they have to tell their children you are going to be okay," said Marlow. "I am going to be here for you."

Marlow said if a child exhibits sudden changes in behavior, such as sleeping or eating patterns, it may be a clue that something is wrong and professional help may be needed.


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