Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trauma counseling - part two

Ever since I mentioned on my Facebook profile that I need counseling to cope with the trauma inflicted on me by all the trauma counseling I am forced to inflict on my kids, I have been deluged by people who have been telling me they are just as tired with it all as I am.
In fact, I seem to have got off easily. All I had to do was to get my son to draw a picture- and activity he enjoys and looks forward to. Since his ‘fears’ are quite different from those of the other children, he would not be getting much counseling at school, and I am sure I can safely ignore the directive to provide him personalized counseling at home.
Older kids seem to be the worst sufferers- they are having to write essays on terrorism and how to deal with it, being made to enact role-plays of the 60 hours, forced to participate in candle-light marches, and to draw about the attacks to understand their latent fears. I see the consequences of all this being quite grim – kids who were relatively unaffected by the attacks will now realise that there is something that they have to fear, kids will start developing an unhealthy fascination for terrorism and counter-terrorism, and a few sensitive kids may even start feeling sympathetic towards the poor terrorist who has the entire system against him. Mothers are seeing all three things happening in their kids.
Why then, this need to focus so much on something that has happened in the past, and which is as relevant to the child as the cartoon episode that ended yesterday?
Are we projecting our fears and insecurities onto our kids? The last couple of months, we have learnt to live with fear – we knew a bomb could go off anytime, anywhere, but that could not really deter us from living our lives could it? This time it was much worse for two reasons – there is something impersonal about a bomb going off in a crowded marketplace, but not about young men taking aim and firing at individuals, and more importantly, perhaps, this time places we thought inviolable, places we aspired to reach, were targeted. That the siege went on for as long as it did, only made things worse for us. But, we too have put that behind us, and are getting on with our life – after all, where can we hide, even if we want to. But maybe some among ourselves need help in conquering their own demons, and they are the ones responsible for this overkill.
Whatever it is, I hope they end this fa├žade soon – it has really gone on too long, and is not even snigger-worthy any more. The winter holidays start next week – I am sure the schools will find something new to do when they reopen. But how do we get through the next few days of trauma counseling?

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