Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 7th 2015 Contents A28
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, December 7, 2015
Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago Limited
advises that on
Tuesday 8th December, 2015
all branches in Trinidad will close
at 12 noon.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Normal working hours will resume on
Wednesday 9th November, 2015.
*Trademark of The Bank of Nova Scotia, used under licence.
Tobago Branches will be open
- Scarborough - 8:00 a.m. -- 11:00 a.m.
- Lowlands - 9:00 a.m. -- 11:00 a.m.
Change in Closing Hours
After the San Bernardino, Califor-
nia, attack, my Facebook news feed
was filled with post after post from
parents anxious about yet another
mass shooting and worried about
their own safety and that of their
I can certainly relate. So can many
other parents I know. In fact, a parent
at my children s school wrote on Face-
book that she was speechless after
she asked her kids if there were ever
lockdown drills at school and heard
"Yes, we all hide behind the desk
and huddle together because if a man
with a gun were at the window, he
wouldn t see us behind the desk," one
of her daughters replied.
The fact that our children have to
do these drills is anxiety-inducing.
The reality that a mass shooting can
conceivably happen anywhere and any
time leaves many of us even more on
edge. But how do we prevent passing
along our own anxiety about this scary
and uncertain world to our children?
David Anderegg, author of Worried
All the Time: Overparenting in an Age
of Anxiety and How to Stop It, thinks
it s the responsibility of adults not to
let our anxiety rub off on our kids.
"I think the problem is sometimes
when adults feel very, very anxious,
they tell themselves, Oh, as long as
my kids are OK, I m OK, and so they
then start to wonder, Are my kids
OK? " said Anderegg, a psychother-
apist for children and adults in Lenox,
Dr Gail Saltz, associate professor of
psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian
Hospital, believes it s natural for par-
ents to feel some anxiety, especially
after a tragedy like a mass shooting,
but what parents might not realise is
how often children, beginning at the
youngest ages, adopt coping mecha-
nisms from watching us.
"They are used to you, and then in
a time of crisis, they re looking to you
for the cues, Are we safe? and if
you re running around going, Oh, I
guess I don t feel comfortable going
to work, they re certainly going to feel
that way as well," said Saltz, author
of Becoming Real: Defeating the Sto-
ries We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us
What adults need to do when they
feel anxious, such as after a mass
shooting like the one in San Bernardino
in which 14 people were killed, is
debrief in person---not just on social
media---with other adults, said
Anderegg, who is on the faculty in
psychology at Bennington College.
"If you feel anxious and you need
to talk about your anxiety or the
tragedy or your sadness or grief or the
lack of meaning or whatever it is that
you need to talk about, you need to
talk to other adults before you talk to
your children, because other adults
are the proper place to process these
kinds of adult feelings," he said. "So,
my advice is don t use your child as
Sure, it s OK to be honest with your
kids and say you are feeling somewhat
anxious, but sharing more information
than they are equipped to process is
only going to make them feel more
on edge, he said.
"This does require some acting on
our part and I think acting is fine,"
'Putting your own
oxygen mask on first'
Taking care of our own anxiety that
surfaces after a tragedy can be the
best thing we can do to help our chil-
dren feel safe, said Saltz.
"It s definitely a matter of putting
your own oxygen mask on first,
because you can best help your child
if you ve contained your own anxiety,"
she said. In addition to talking to other
adults, anxious parents might embrace
other anxiety-reducing activities such
as aerobic exercise, deep breathing
and hot baths. Turning off the nonstop
news coverage also can help, she said.
"Not having it just so omnipresent,
because you do increase the perception
of frequency and then it gets harder
to say, Hey, this is a rare event, which
it is," said Saltz.
Most anxieties are based on prob-
ability overestimation, said Anderegg.
"You get on a plane and you think
you are going to crash because you
greatly overestimate the number of
planes that actually crash," he said.
Because the frequency of mass shoot-
ings in the United States has increased,
some of us think they are more likely
to happen, he added.
Educating yourself about probability
is one way to reduce your anxiety as
a parent, said Anderegg, pointing to
Web sites such as the Harvard Center
for Risk Analysis, where you can look
at how many people in the United
States die every year in a mass shoot-
ing as compared to, for instance, traffic
Treating chronic parental anxiety
Parents with chronic anxiety are a
different matter, Anderegg and Saltz
agreed. These parents need to realise
that without treatment, sooner or later,
their anxiety will affect their children.
For their own health and the health
of their children, parents with chronic
anxiety disorders should get treatment,
whether it s short- or long-term ther-
apy or medication or both, said
There is a genetic predisposition to
anxiety and it does run in families,
said Saltz, so if parents are not aware
of their own predispositions to it, they
might not be able to pick up what s
going on with their own child.
Being honest with your child about
your chronic anxiety and showing
them what steps you are taking to
treat it, especially if anxiety runs in
the family, can go a long way toward
de-stigmatising anxiety and treatment
and equipping your child to deal with
any anxiety they might encounter later
on in life, said Saltz. (cnn.com)
How our anxiety
affects our kids
Denise Adams holds a sign for her friend Robert Adams, who died in a shooting on Wednesday, during a vigil
for shooting victims on Thursday at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino, California, USA. A husband and
wife opened fire on a holiday banquet, killing multiple people on Wednesday. Hours later, the couple died in a
shootout with police. AP PHOTO
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