Description: Given the number of terrorist incidents occurring worldwide it is not surprising that a common question that parents ask of child psychologists involves wondering how to talk to their children about these global events particularly given the detailed coverage they are receiving. The article linked below involves interviews of the number of child development specialists who offer their advice about how to talk to children and adolescents about the sorts of events. Perhaps not surprisingly, the main part of the answer is that it depends on the child’s age and on the temperament among other factors.
Source: How to talk to kids about tragic events. Kelly Wallace, CNN.
Date: March 22, 2016
Photo Credit: CNN
Despite the fact that many of the terrorist bombings and related events at the world is experienced recently happened a great deal of distance away (though still closer than one might be comfortable with) the amount of information about the events that is simply generally available for viewing by children of all ages as a cause for parental concern. Not that long ago, young children at least and even older children were somewhat innocent of knowledge of the sorts of events simply because the coverage was not so routinely available. Now it appears that everywhere you turn there is graphic video evidence of events like the suicide bomb attacks the Brussels Airport available for anyone to see.
Parents still have the ability to limit their children’s exposure to the detailed coverage of these events. Parents may be able to tune out the fifth or sixth iteration of coverage of an event young children in particular can be quite overwhelmed. Number of studies have shown that children who have prolonged exposure to coverage of events like the Brussels attacks have higher levels of anxiety later than do children who may be aware of the events that are not watched detailed coverage, and particularly televised coverage, of the events. Parents need to listen carefully to the questions her children are asking about these events and realize that while children aren’t really needing very many details about the events they do want to know whether they’re going to be safe and their families are going to be safe. Keeping the whole thing a secret parents need to help their children state their feelings and their concerns and to reassure their children that they’re doing everything they can to keep the children safe. Parents may need to do a little more if the child is temperamentally anxious can the best advice is to pay attention to the questions that the child is actually asking an address those questions as calmly as directly as possible.
Questions for Discussion:
- Should parents work to make sure that their young children do not hear about world events involving terrorist attacks?
- What sort of things should parents keep in mind as they consider how to respond to their children’s questions about terror events that come up in the news or through discussion within the child’s peer group?
- What sorts of things might news networks do to ensure their acting responsibly in relation to children and teenage potential viewers on the events they’re covering are potentially quite frightening?
References (Read Further):
Talking to children about disasters, American Academy of Pediatrics, https://healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Pages/Talking-to-Children-about-Disasters.aspx