Something Happened to My Dad: A Story About Immigration and Family Separation is an important book about the immigration and family separation experience. Available in English and Spanish, this critical resource has an extensive Reader’s Note with a glossary for Spanish language words and vocabulary list with kid-friendly definitions of immigration-related terms, adult-child dialog scripts, strategies for fostering cultural sensitivity, special considerations for mixed-status families, information about the illustrations, and additional resources. In the story, Carmen is sad and scared when she learns her father has been detained because he is an undocumented immigrant. In this realistic and empowering tale, Carmen learns that through community and love, she can find strength in herself and maintain her connection with her Papi, who has been detained because of his immigration status. Here’s a short excerpt from the adult-child dialog section with conversations that might be initiated by children. It includes sample answers for parents and caregivers to questions from children. Q: Why did Carmen’s mom tell her to keep it secret that her dad was in a detention center? A: Carmen’s mother might not have wanted people to treat them differently or feel sorry for them. Sometimes people keep secrets because it is upsetting to talk about something. Have you ever kept something secret so you would not have to talk about it? Q: Why do people need papers to stay in the country? A: Countries have laws about who can move in and governments give people documents (“papers”) to show that they have been approved to stay. Some people in the U.S. want our immigration laws to be strict, while other people believe that we should have laws that welcome many immigrants. Q: What happens after someone without papers is detained (arrested)? A: Once a person without papers is detained, they are taken to a detention center to wait until they can meet with an immigration judge. Sometimes the person is released on bail (money paid) and can instead wait in their home in the U.S. until their court date. Not everyone qualifies for or can afford to pay bail. The immigration judge decides if the person can stay or must go back to their home country (be deported). In recent years, some children have been separated from their parents or family while they wait for their court date with the immigration judge. Q: Are immigrants without papers criminals? A: Most crimes, like stealing, drunk driving, or assault with a weapon, are actions that can hurt other people. That is why those behaviors are against the law or illegal. Immigrants without papers can be arrested for crossing the border illegally. But this is not a crime that directly hurts other people. Most immigrants, with or without papers, obey U.S. laws designed to protect us. Q: A boy in my class hardly speaks any English. Why? A: Some families speak a different language at home and the children do not learn English until they start school. Other children have recentlyRead More
About Ann Hazzard, PhDAnn Hazzard, PhD, ABPP, is a co-author of Something Happened in Our Town and Something Happened in Our Park. As a psychologist, she has utilized therapeutic stories in treatment with children and teens. As a community advocate, she has focused on children's behavioral health and social justice.
Gun violence is an all too common occurrence in our communities. Children may experience fear, anxiety, and confusion after experiencing, witnessing, or hearing about shootings in their community. The authors of the New York Times best-selling, award-winning book about a police shooting, Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice, Marianne Celano, PhD, ABPP, Marietta Collins, PhD, and Ann Hazzard, PhD, ABPP, created a new book, Something Happened In Our Park: Standing Together After Gun Violence, to help kids and grown-ups talk about gun violence and explore positive ways to respond. This excerpt from the extensive Reader’s Note in Something Happened In Our Park provides guidelines for discussing community gun violence with children. The Incidence and Impact of Gun Violence Every year over 15,000 children and teens, ages 0-19, are killed or injured by shootings, an average of 43 per day. An estimated three million children witness a shooting each year. Exposure to community violence puts children at increased risk for a variety of negative psychological outcomes. These children spend less time outside and are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, emotional concerns and concentration problems contribute to poorer academic performance. Helping Children Cope with Anxiety We all want our children to feel safe. Yet, we also want to prepare them for the dangers they may face. At times, this preparation might increase their anxiety, although appropriate education also increases children’s actual safety. These are competing priorities, and finding the right balance is challenging. Individual and Family Strategies to Increase Safety and Reduce Anxiety Children who become aware of shootings may become fearful and want to avoid certain activities and places. Other symptoms of anxiety are sleep and appetite changes, physical complaints, concentration problems, clinginess, irritability, or behavior problems. Parents have an important role in helping children cope with anxiety. Children sense when their caretakers are stressed, so it is important for parents to develop strategies to manage their feelings. Children also rely on parents to help them understand and manage their feelings. These approaches may be helpful. Limit your child’s exposure to graphic violent imagery in the news or in other media such as video games. Ask your children questions to find out what information they have and how they are feeling. Discuss your child’s reactions and concerns. Validate their feelings. Help your child manage their reactions using some of the strategies below, designed to help them cope with feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Expressing Feelings: You can help your children manage stress by coaching them to “turn down the volume” on emotions that feel overwhelming. Deep breathing, drawing, humming or singing, snuggling with a pet or favorite cuddly object, and visualizing a safe place, positive memory, or situation where your child mastered something scary are all calming strategies. Any activity which helps your child feel empowered, like music, sports, or prayer, can help to balance feelings of vulnerability. Encouraging Positive Thinking: Positive thinking means encouraging your child to thinkRead More
When Miles’s cousin Keisha is injured in a shooting, he realizes people can work together to reduce the likelihood of violence in their community. With help from friends and family, Miles learns to use his imagination and creativity to help him cope with his fears. Hear the authors, Ann Hazzard, PhD, ABPP, Marietta Collins, PhD, and , Marianne Celano, PhD, ABPP read Something Happened in Our Park aloud.Read More