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Kids feel the stress of flooding

IPSWICH'S flood-affected children are withdrawing from society and becoming aggressive due to stress suffered during January's disaster.

This is the view of Vanessa Cogham, a clinical psychologist and academic within the University of Queensland's School of Psychology.

Dr Cogham is heading the Flood and Cyclone Recovery Triple P seminars that are aimed at helping parents understand the impacts the flood will have on their children's psyche.

She said she had dealt with Ipswich children who were significantly distressed because of the floods.

“The flood will have a variety of effects on children,” Dr Cogham said.

“Some children are withdrawing. They may start sleeping in their parent's bed again after not doing it for months, they may be sucking their thumb again or even being more aggressive.

“The distress can be seen in children from age two or three even up to 16 and 17.

“The problem for parents is, children only tell you what they want you to know and they may be hiding their real feelings.

“The parents of these flood-affected children, through no fault of their own, are dealing with a million other things and many children do not want to add another worry to their mum and dad.

“But these issues need to be discussed and addressed.

“The seminars will help parents understand what their child is dealing with and how to help manage their distress.”

The seminars are for parents only.

There have already been Triple P seminars in Ipswich, Gatton and Grantham.

“We encourage parents to come along and learn about what distress in a child can cause,” Dr Cogham said.

Dr Cogham said the next storm season could act as a trigger for increased distress.

“Even heavy rain might be trigger for some children to act out or withdraw,” she said.

“When summer comes and the rain starts, children whose homes were flooded will likely become frightened.”

The seminars return to Ipswich on Thursday.

For more information visit experiment.psy.uq.edu.au/recovery/recovery.

Topics:  flood ipswich natural disaster


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