“Compartmentalization is a subconscious psychological defence mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person's having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.” (Wikipedia)
I’m struggling to use this much needed defence mechanism! I find the issue with the past year (I’m not singling out 2020 here because we are quickly getting into a year filled with just as much chaos) is that I just don’t have a bucket or compartment in which to put these events, this virus, this violence, this racism, this chaos and the nightmares to come. I have no backdrop or history that aligns with what is happening now. The only compartment that gives me some comfort is that I am a parent. And part of being a parent is filtering these events and this chaos in a way so that my children can understand and make meaning from them. So when my 8-year-old asked what happened at the Capitol, I had to find a way to explain this event. The insurrection felt like a Chuck Palahniuk ball of wax and guts inside my head tumbling around with no structure, shape or place to go. So it wasn’t an easy task to explain this frightening event to her. I can’t say that I have shaped that ball into anything definitive and it continues to tumble around in my head but thankfully the good Dr. Hite of the Philadelphia Public School System (our Superintendent) sent out some resources that I found to be helpful in describing the Insurrection to my daughter. I hope these resources will help you too!
● Helping Children Cope with Terrorism
● Age Related Reactions to Traumatic Events
● Talking to Kids about Tragedies (Such as Shootings and Terror Attacks) in the News
● How to talk to your kids about violence at the U.S. Capitol
● How To Process A Scary Day For The Nation With Your Kids
● How to talk to your kids about the chaos at the Capitol
How are you all handling this current situation?