When we relate to parents of children in a disaster struck area

For supporters

【When school teachers interact with these parents】


Support for parents after a disaster leads to the supporting of children’s emotional well-being.  When teachers help these parents, keep the following in mind:


〇 Try to understand the condition of the parents/guardians of disaster affected children. Parental situation has significant impact on the physical and mental safety of children. If parents are extremely tired and sad, have emotional ups and downs, are unable to fully engage with their children in order to rebuild their lives, or reduced to poverty due to the disaster, it may be difficult to change their current home situation or form relationship with their children. That’s why it is very important to support children at school. Try to give consideration to those children so they can spend time as ordinarily as much as possible.


〇Maintain contact with parents/guardians after the disaster, even if it comes at intervals. Condition at home may change one after another after the incident and that may affect children. It is important for teachers to know these condition changes.


〇It is possible that parents/guardians have suffered great emotional trauma due to the disaster. When talking with them, try to match your mood and tone of voice with theirs. Keep a calm tone of voice and a listening first attitude, and try to ease any tension in the conversation. In talking with parents, you may hear about difficult family situations. When this happens, just being there and listening to them can be a great help.


〇For parents/guardians who are overly concerned about their children, provide appropriate information about support organizations, specialists and specialized institutions (pediatricians, psychiatrists and psychosomatic physicians specializing in children, child counseling centers, public health centers, mental health and welfare centers, etc.) and encourage them to contact these supporters.


〇When children lose their parents or siblings, or they are separated from their parents, their lives have completely changed. Sufficiently contact current caregivers and discuss ensuring the children’s stable care and normal lifestyle.


〇There may be children and parents who seem to do better when consulting medical professionals. If they haven’t been visited medical specialists yet, encourage them to do so. For families with financial difficulties, recommend visits with a school counselor (SC), school social worker (SSW), child counseling center, or welfare office.


〇Teachers themselves may have difficulty in dealing with parents and children. If supporting them becomes difficult, consult with supervisors, colleagues, and/or experts (SC, SSW, etc.). In particular, teachers in disaster struck areas are likely to be also suffering from the disaster and/or losing their students, leading to an emotionally burdened, and difficult situation. It is important that teachers don’t carry all the problems and push themselves too much.