With heartbreaking details and devastating footage all over the news and social media, parents are faced with the heavy task of parenting through real life horror.
Parenting expert Alyson Schafer shares how we can talk to our kids about tragedy in the news.
FILTER AND PROCESS INFORMATION
- Be age appropriate in your discussions
- Find out what they have heard so you can correct misunderstanding and misinformation
- Explain and answer questions use simple language they can understand
DON’T SUGARCOAT OR LIE
- It may seem like you are being kind by minimizing or lying about the situation, but it’s always better to be truthful / factual (again, in an age appropriate way)
HELP THEM FEEL SAFE
- For kids on social media, it’s best for them to avoid these stories – don’t promote them. For older kids, have your tweens / teens pay attention to their emotional state when they see images and posts and explain they can limit those feelings by limiting their exposure. They don’t need updates constantly – agree to check newsfeeds together, and discuss together as new information is available
- Use distraction to get people’s mind off things OR see if they would like to turn their worry into action, like researching ideas for how to support peace (petition/rallies/social activism)
- Remember, your attitude is infectious – deliver your messages with a calm reassurance and don’t over-protect or helicopter parent
- Be generous with your love and cuddles. Touch has a powerful ability to release a cascade of chemicals in the body that help to relieve stress