Croatian Radio Television: “Are our children okay?”

In the show “Good morning, Croatia” on Croatian Radio Television were talk about the mental health of children after traumatic experiences, such as quarantine due to a pandemic and the earthquake in Zagreb on June 12, 2020. The psychologist from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center Ella Selak Bagarić, spoke about this topic, and also presented the platform of the City of Zagreb, “Support in the palm of your hand”. We are publishing the text of HRT Magazine about that show:


“It is a challenge for all of us, and especially for children, to recognize what we are feeling, it is even more difficult to name those feelings. We talk too little about emotions today. We all answer very often “I’m fine” and we accept when someone answers us that way. We have experienced a lot of traumatic events lately and it is almost impossible not to have negative feelings. Ella Selak Bagarić, master of psychology from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, spoke about these challenges in the show “Good morning, Croatia”.


We should talk to children 

– If the child is not talked to, he/she is left to his/her fantasies and interpretations of what is happening. Therefore, they need to get clear and concise information tailored to their age and needs from parents who are a safe base for them, otherwise their fantasies can be much worse than what they really are – says Selak Bagarić.

Resilience is something that is not a stable characteristic of children, we can develop it, but very often we misjudge the resilience of children. We say children are good, and that’s not because they don’t know how to express their emotions.


We imply a lot of it

– ” I love you, forgive me, I miss you” is often taken for granted. The upbringing of children does not start when he is already 12-13 years old, but from the first day when we hold him in our arms, and all this takes time. Today, it is very difficult to be a parent because parents have too many responsibilities and roles. Every parent should be told: Congratulations! – says the psychologist.


Time with our child is something that is only ours

She emphasizes that we must not forget that the time we need to spend with the child is not when we cook lunch and the child is there somewhere, nor when we show him math or drive him to training. Time with our child is something that is only ours, that is intimate and continuous. With small children it is most often a family lunch and then the children are the main, important, then there is no cell phone and television. We need to monitor adolescents. They often want to talk at 10 pm or midnight, but we have to accept that and be with them.

– It is important that we talk and that we have people we trust and can rely on. Sometimes this is not enough, so both parents and children need the help of experts – advises the master of psychology.


Time for yourself

It is very important to have time for yourself and teach children to take care of their mental health, to rest. It’s the end of the school year, it’s extremely difficult for everyone, but sometimes we forget to take care of whether that child is playing, whether we all have enough time to get a good night’s sleep at least once a week, take longer showers or have something that makes us happy.

– None of us care enough about our mental health until the difficulties are expressed. We speak well on our own, until we see changes on some somatic level, we get sick… Children very often complain of headaches, stomach aches and when they do tests, they often need psychologists to get support – says Selak Bagarić.


What were we eating at the time of the quarantine?

– We all gained weight during the pandemic and now we are worried about it, but few of us think about what we ate at that time, why we needed that food. It is important to see what we need now and what we can take in instead of that food – says the psychologist.


Let’s recognize how our children are

Selak Bagarić says that research shows that almost every 3rd child who has experienced quarantine has serious consequences for mental health, and even has symptoms of PTSD. That is why psychologists have united, he says, and are trying to do something more at the City level to prevent this from happening. Parents, educators and teachers must make every effort to recognize how our children are and seek support and help in a timely manner.


A child needs a parent who is well

– It is important to work with children but also with parents. The child needs a safe haven, he needs a parent who is good enough to be able to help him – emphasizes Selak Bagarić.


– If you are unsure, if you are worried about your child’s sleep deprivation, overeating, changes in habits, isolation of the child, loss of will for everything that otherwise makes him happy, call the Child Protection Center or other system that can help the child get support and help – appealed Ella Selak Bagarić, master of psychology from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center”


Source: HRT: Link:

Disclaimer: This is unofficial translation provided for information purposes. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center cannot be held legally responsible for any translation inaccuracy.   

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