How to manage anxiety and talk to children amid Capitol breach

Psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor and parenting expert Rachel Simmons share advice for how to process the chaos that took place at the Capitol building.
5:34 | 01/07/21

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Transcript for How to manage anxiety and talk to children amid Capitol breach
We're back with how the violence in the capitol is affecting communities and families as we watch these images, so many struggling to manage anxiety and explain the chaos, especially to our children. Joining us to help process those concerns are psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor and parenting expert Rachel Simmons. Both great friends of our program and we're so glad to have you with us right now. Janet, let me begin with you. What is your advice and how to handle and process what we've been seeing? Well, as you mentioned, many communities and families have felt besieged the past four years and had covid and watching these images but it's important to understand that we all have the capacity to bring ourselves into balance, especially when chronically stressed so it's important to think about recovery. Getting proper sleep, eating well, exercising throughout these difficult times, really looking for evidence, truth matter, you know, the reality is most of America is not against us, this is a small prjs of people. We are safe. You know, in our homes to practice self-care, to establish what's under our control and there's never been as important a time to be together throughout covid, to reach for each other, to understand that, you know, we can be together in suffering but also through healing so reach out to people, talk to your kids, and then them understand and remind them of those ways that we keep each other safe and that we can get through this. Well, Dr. Taylor, great to hear those word, watching these images it can be extremely overwhelming. Rachel, I want to ask you how do we talk to our children and families about the violence that we've seen and what is going on Well, first we want to validate that these images are really disturbing. It's okay for kids to feel scared and unsettled. We're not supposed to see chaos in a place where we're supposed to see civility but the other thing is as parents we've been having this conversation for ages. We've been telling our kid, use your words and not your hands and that's what we need to tell them about what we've seen we have the right to peacefully protest. We don't have the right to be violent. We as the parent have tools to talk about this. Parents, I know, that they are going to be using those tools and they need those tools that you're giving them. Janet, it's not just the country that is divided. There are many families that are divided as well along -- when it comes to political leanings, let's say. So what is your advice to families who are not seeing eye to eye and have the anxiety as well as all of us? Well, it's important to agree to disagree. People are politically entrenched it's a hard way to shift that mind-set. If you can align yourself on what a common purpose, a common value to talk about what's important to you, safety, loving each other, how to communicate in a way that is not violent but you can make each other understand so just talk about family history and those dynamics that really create a bond, so it's really about aligning on a higher purpose and a higher ideal. Rachel, the country was just glued to their television sets or at least their phone, their devices watching history unfold and a violent history happening. Should parents be shielding their children from some of these images or should they be encouraging them to watch and having a conversation about it? It's a big debate which one the right call is. Yeah, and I think with everything it just depends who your child is. If you have a super sensitive anxious kids and kids are on edge they can sit this one out but this is also a learning opportunity, right? This is not entertainment so if you want to show what's happening to your child, sit down with them. Talk with them about what they're seeing. Ask them, what do you think about this? Like what's your opinion? Share your perspective as Janet has been saying talk about your values and what does it mean to live in the United States. Be their guide. Don't just leave them there on the couch. Communication for sure. Dr. Taylor, are there different ways to help kids of children of different ages manage anxiety? Well, I think first you have to assume our kids have anxiety anyway. They've had disruptions at school and see what we're going through as parents, talk to ask them how they're feeling and really when kids are anxious, a lot of times they'll's shut down so just say how are you doing? This is how I'm feeling and do some what IFS. What if you were in a situation where, you know, people told to you do things you didn't want to do, what could you do? Like make sure that our kids know that as parents we are their anchors and at times when they feel upset or feel like they're getting off their game that they can come to us and we will not judges them, we want to help them. So I look at every kid as a same age and really talk about and check in with how they're feeling. They are anxious and feeling They certainly are, Janet, Rachel, as a parent we want to know what the warning signs are when that anxiety goes beyond a healthy range. Yeah, the biggest thing you're looking for is you can't engage in your normal activities. The things that make you happy don't make you happy anymore. You're not sleeping or sleeping too much. You're not eating or eating too much. All of these difficulty focusing are an opportunity to think about a reset or getting some help. Well, thank you both so much. Always reassuring to see you and I read something recently that said what we are reaching for is different, the reasons we are reaching are the same. That what we're reaching for may be different but the reasons why we do it is the same, it's about family. It's about love so we have to remember those things we have in common as opposed to those few things that drive us Admit it, these days what

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