Parenting in the Aftermath

by | Aug 4, 2022 | Blog, Crisis, Grief, Parenting

Highland Park July 4th Shooting 

A few short weeks ago our community experienced a significant traumatic event. While enough time has passed for the news cycle to move on, we are still a community in need of healing. Whether you experienced the terror directly or vicariously, your feelings are valid and real. 

So much senseless and unspeakable tragedy is happening around us. It feels like it’s closing in. Not being okay seems to be the only thing that makes sense right now. Parents were not meant to hold this much. 

While we hug our children more tightly and feel extra grateful to have them in our arms, we ache. We ache with grief, fear, shock, and anger. We ache for those who have lost loved ones. For the orphaned toddler, our ache is deep and profound. 

In the midst of it all, we are left trying to answer the hardest of questions and explain the unthinkable to our children. 

Trying to make them feel safe while feeling anything but, as our protective instincts run through terrifying scenarios. 

We’re feeling depleted and exhausted from the mental load of imagining the ‘what if’ scenarios. Questioning our every decision. Weighing the risks of each outing. More aware of every danger. Plotting, planning, calculating… wanting to do something, anything to feel more in control. 

Carrying images we can’t unsee. Hearing stories we can’t stop dwelling on. Looking for the answers, wanting more information, trying to make sense of the senseless. 

There is no day off from parenting in the midst of all this. No sabbatical to process our own emotions. Instead, the intensity of it all is compounded as we hold space for the needs of our kids. It is so much. Too much. How are we supposed to help our children navigate their own feelings when we have barely been able to process this ourselves?

Be real. Be human. Let them see you grieve and cry and cope. 

Focus on connecting and feeling safe. Tell the stories about the helpers. 

Do what makes you feel safe together. Snuggle. Dance. Play. Just be. Hold your children close, you both need it. 

All children have the capacity to be resilient when they get the right support. That is true for parents too. 

Let them see you lean on others and ask for help. No one was meant to hold all of this alone. We need each other. We need support.

Our community is hurting and together we will find healing, strength, courage, and the resilience to be the safe and supportive community our children need. 

The one we all need. You are not alone. If you or your children need additional support, we are here for you. IFC, along with so many local partners are full of helpers, holding their arms out wide to support you and your family though this.

We have compiled a list of resources – local organizations, financial assistance opportunities, books to take home, etc. Hopefully one or several of these resources are helpful to you and your family in any way.

Finding Support in the Aftermath of the Highland Park July 4th Shooting

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