RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The recent tragic events across the nation and threats in the Valley could cause anxiety and fear in children and families.

Brooke Williamson, a marriage and family therapist associate for the Counseling Center of South Texas, said there are ways to identify when your child is going through a difficult time.

“Increased isolation, spending a lot of time in their room, spending a lot of time on their phones,” said Williamson.

She said when a child is not engaging in their interests or stops hanging out with friends, that should initiate a conversation with your child.

“Future harm is something really difficult to see in a child just by having open conversations and checking in with your child during all moments in time, whether it’s a hard time or not just having that conversation with them and getting used to having conversations with them, you’ll be able to tell more often, but there are no large signs,” said Williamson.

She recommends asking how the child is feeling and sharing how you feel could help open the conversation.

The conversation may not be easy but she recommends getting creative to start the talk.

“Doing an activity or over family dinner would be the best time to have a conversation. If not, you can always refer them to a clinician and you don’t have to have a mental health diagnosis to receive therapy,” she said.

Sharing your own experience with therapy could also help, according to Williamson.

She said coping skills are different for everyone when it comes to traumatic events.

“Find something that you relate to that you like, whether that’s walking, or doing something adventurous, like rock climbing, or finding something new to do,” she recommended.

She said it is important to reassure your child’s safety at school and in public places.

Williamson recommends taking your child to public places to reassure that places away from home are safe.

Brooke Williamson will be leading a free webinar for parents on having difficult conversations with children on Thursday, June 2. Details below:

South Texas Health System Behavioral
Let’s Talk How to Have Difficult Conversations with Your Kids FREE virtual seminar
Thursday, June 2, from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Online via Zoom. Pre-registration is recommended, not required.
Zoom Meeting ID: 950 0674 0507 Passcode: 845947