Counselor for son?

Our neighbors house burned down a week ago. Everyone got out fine. There were 3 boys who lived there, 2 of whom my kids played with multiple times a week. My kids saw the whole ordeal because we were evacuated from our house at 130am by the police until the fire was under control. Ever since, my son (8) has been very emotional, saying things like he has no more friends (since the boys obviously dont live there anymore), being very angry or crying, shows no interest in anything anymore, continusly asks questions about whats going to happen regarding the house and the family, etc. He says the house is scary. I think maybe he is scared our house will burn down. To add to this mess, his little brother (7 months)whom my son adores was suddenly the following day rushed to the hospital while he was in school because he (long scary story short) ended up with meningitis. That also upset my son. The baby is home recovering. He has asked his dad to lay in his room every night since weve been home from the hospital.

Im concerned for my 8 year old sons mental health really. We are trying to be sensitive to his emotions right now and trying to answer all his questions as best we can and reassuring him that he is still friends with those boys and as soon as they are settled into a place to live (theyre still in a hotel) we will have them over to play. At what point should i consider finding someone for him to talk to? Maybe just have him and his dad go out fishing or something just to talk things through away from all the hubbub of our house for now? I know we shouls give this time but How long would you let him feel down in the dumps before you decided he needed maybe a counselor to talk to? Its going to be hard to not be reminded of this since the burned house is 10 feet away from our own amd is going to be there for a while as is.

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I would go that route, and if he still hasn’t improved I’d seek a councilor

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I think his re-connecting with the neighbor boys would be good for him. He would see that they might not be in such a state mentally as he is - and it was not his house which burnt. If the cause of the fire is known, then reassure your son that it either could not happen in your house, or that precautions have been taken. It is an awful lot for a sensitive child to process, and all in the middle of the night, when almost everything is frightening to a young child.

I am just a layperson but the above, I think, and time, will heal the wounds. If it does not help, or if he becomes even more upset, it is time to seek some outside assistance.

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I recommend just going to a counselor first, as time might not heal all wounds, rather reinforce coping mechanisms related to terror. If you feel the need to ask forums.catholic.com, that is probably a sign things are serious enough to ask a counselor.

Disclaimer: I have no knowledge in children, and no knowledge in the young.

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I would wait a bit before going to counseling.
Yes he had two traumas in a short amount of time, but with extra loving from Mom and dad, he should be able to work through this on his own.
We do have a natural capacity to resolve grief, which in itself is a natural and normal emotional response to loss—not a pathology.
Someone upthread had a good suggestion about meeting up with his old friends just to know they’re safe.
Of course, if he’s getting more upset rather than less, over time, then counseling is definitely in order

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Your son’s school will have a counselor, your pediatrician can also make suggestions. It is very good to help your son work through this trauma. Prayers!!

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If this happened a week ago, I don’t think it’s unreasonable your son is still upset about it. Particularly if he is reminded of the fire by seeing the burned out home next door everytime he looks out the window.

If this change in attitude and behavior is still there in a few months, maybe he needs to see a counselor.

Right now he probably just needs you and your husband. And reassurance with some limits. Such as, if he says his friends are gone forever you can reassure him once that day they are in a hotel until they find a new house. And then don’t answer that question again.

I will pray for your neighbors and your family tonight.

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Honestly, if this happened to me as an adult I’d be a wreck for longer than a week. I might hide it because adults don’t show their upset, but I’d be having all kinds of anxiety over everything. It’s a lot of stress even though disaster seems to have been largely averted.

I would not rush the kid off to a counselor right now. Give him some time to de-stress, talk to him honestly about his feelings. Reassure him that he’ll see the neighbors again, and if possible for him to have a quick visit with his friends, then that might help. When he says the house is scary, that’s a good time to remind him that we trust in God and say a prayer. My mother always did that when I was a child and got scared of things like fires, tornados, planes dropping on the house etc from seeing such things on the news or having a disaster closer to home. I also think the idea of letting him go fishing with dad in a quiet environment away from the house (and the scene of the disaster) is a good one.

If a couple months go by and despite your best efforts, your child is still upset and hasn’t calmed down, at that point it might be time to seek outside help from a counselor.

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Have his teachers noticed anything different? Also, did your son go to school with the friends who lost their home?

I’d give your son a mission. In this case, have your husband explain to him that his friends might need a few more toys and things for when they’re resettled. Your husband could ask him to write down a few things they might need. Get him to work for the money needed through chores. Then go with him to the store and buy those things to give to his friends.

But also, I would keep a positive attitude and explain how wonderful it is that everybody made it out alive. You could pray three Our Father’s in thanksgiving during family pray time.

I would not go to a counselor. The answer lies within your family.

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