Child care expert and author Dr. T. Berry Brazelton says he’s seen some 25,000 patients in his 40 years as a pediatrician.
And he’s done plenty of research into the field of child development, authoring some 24 books on the subject.
But even Brazelton shakes his head when asked what effects the Feb. 28 raid and standoff at Mount Carmel might have on the children of Branch Davidian cult members.
“We’ve had so much exposure to cults,” said Brazelton, a Waco native who was here Saturday to speak at a pediatrics conference at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center. “But I don’t think we can truly understand it all.”
He said he has no expert answers about how to handle children affected by cults.
“It’s going to be hard and take a long time to rid these kids from any trauma they’ve felt,” he said.
“Being with their parents and adults who love them may help.”
Brazelton said the violence the children have experienced worries him most.
“The violence is likely to perpetuate itself from one generation to another,” he said.
Brazelton said he has been working with children traumatized by violence in Yugoslavia, “but my colleagues have said you can’t really set up programs to address grieving until the threat is over and the danger has passed.”
He said he doubts Branch Davidian youngsters will be able to process what has happened “as long as he’s in there” and the standoff continues.
“I’m sure they’re all grieving about what’s going on inside,” he said. “It’s pretty scary stuff. I don’t think we can understand it.”