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    You or your friends community has just become the victim of terrorism or have declared a state of war. You are frightened beyond words. Are you going to die? Is your friend going to die? What is going to happen to your family? How will you survive? Let's talk...

    First, it is a natural reaction to be shocked at news of war or terrorism. You will be confused, angry, hurt, scared, sad and everything in-between. When these emotions come to the surface don't try to hide them. Allow yourself to feel. There is no shame in showing your feelings. You will probably not even know what is happening to friends and/or family for days at a time.

    Second, look for ways to let these feelings out. Cry, scream, jump around and yell. Do whatever you need to do (without getting violent or hurting another person) to get these strong feelings out. Go for a jog, exercise, write poetry, stories or songs, write letters to newspapers and politicians. Do some artwork and draw pictures of how you feel.

    Don't be alone! Now is not the time to run away or go to some abandoned house. If you need to be alone, go to your room. This is the time when you need family, friends and spiritual leaders the most. Lean on them. Talk and listen with them. Share your feelings with them. Mourn with them. Let them know what is going on inside your head. If you need a hug, ask for one.

    Sometimes adults can get caught up in their own fear and grief. Don't be afraid to go to your parents and tell them you need attention. Tell them you need a hug or want to sleep with them if you are scared. Let them know what you need. If you don't know what you need from them, be honest and tell them that. No one knows you like your family does. They will know what you need.

    Express your thoughts, views and solutions. It is normal and healthy to think and talk about revenge. Just remember that is not OK to act on these feelings. You can do whatever you want in your head to the people who committed acts of terrorism or war. Just don't do these things in real life. Also, you need to realize that you are alive and you need to go on living. The people you know who have passed on will want you to get over your loss and live life to the fullest.

    Don't take your confusion, anger and hurt out on other people. You will have family, friends and strangers feeling the same way you do. Support each other.

    If you have a friend who's parent(s) were killed, be supportive and patient. Give your friend time to heal. If they write you letters or come over and vent their anger or frustration, respond to them with support and understanding. Always make sure you respond with some positive words of encouragement and hope. Hope is the key to survival.

    It is OK to try and guess who or what organization is responsible for terrorist acts. It is not OK to use fear and ignorance to blame a group of people you do not like. Racism is the easy answer to these questions. Remember that there is always more to the story than what you hear in the media. Perhaps these people were raised to believe in hatred. Maybe they lived everyday with death. I am not justifying anything. Acts of terrorism is wrong, any way you look at it. I am just saying that people need to look at the whole picture; past, present and future.

    If a family member or friend has died, honor their memory by not going on a physical revenge trip. Write them a letter, poem or song. Talk out loud to them and let them know you cared and are hurting. Write the murders a letter. Tell them how you feel about them and what they did. Don't hold any feeling back in your letter. Speak straight from the heart. You may never get to mail these letters, but you will be surprised at how much better you start to feel once you write them.

    If you find that you are unable to cope with the emotions you are feeling, ask for help. There is never any shame in asking a person for help. It takes a strong person to admit when they need support. Call a crisis line, religious figure, relative or counselor.

    Lastly, you need to go on living. Just not living physically, but emotionally too. Wake up each day and think of something to do that will make you happy. Each night before you go to bed, find something that happened in the day to be thankful for.

    NOTE TO PARENTS

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