Explain Traumatic Events To Your Child

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Police Shooting Protests in Dallas

Dallas police respond after shots were fired during a protest over recent fatal shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota,Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers during protests; several officers were killed, police said. (Maria R. Olivas/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Television Is A News Source For Tragedies In Our World

Tragedies occur around the world everyday. Shootings, terror attacks, and natural disasters are available for our children to view on television. Sometimes parents don’t know how to talk about difficult topics with their child. As adults, we need to be able to talk with our children comfortably. Give yourself a few minutes to plan your conversation beforehand. Keep calm to explain the situation in better detail.


5 Tips To Help  Explain Tragedy

  1. Initial Conversation
    The first thing you want to do is become comfortable about what happened. Practice what you are going to say to your child. You want to talk to him or her about it calmly. Talk about the situation when they are preoccupied to reduce their fear.
  2. When Do You Speak To Your Child? Speak to your child as soon as it happens, and don’t let them find out from other sources. There is an exception, however—if young children (6 years or younger) are not asking, you don’t have to volunteer the information. Wait until they ask. With older children, they will find out. Parents follow up and check in with your child over the next few days without pressuring him or her.
  3. Elementary School Children
    Limit graphic detail. Reassure them that parents and teachers will keep them safe. Say something along the lines: “Something terrible happened today and people got hurt. But, a lot of people survived and this does not happen every day. We love you and we are here if you want to talk.
  4. Teenager
    You can be more graphic with teens. They understand more adult terms. You don’t have to sugarcoat it. Limit exposure to graphic details. If you see them obsessing on the act, get professional help immediately. Don’t wait.
  5. Media Coverage
    If your child is exposed to media and you know about it, ask them what they are seeing and hearing. You have to address their questions immediately. You should limit the amount of news exposure. Turn on something else. Do other activities as the media coverage dies down.  The main concern is decreasing your child’s panic and fear. Remember, kids watch their parents to see how serious tragic events are and how worried they should be.  Try to remain calm and focus on how they are feeling.

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