What’s the best way to talk to our children about devastating world events? My children are 7 and 9. I remember being afraid of things outside of my control when I was growing up and I want to help them experience their feelings in a productive way.
These days there are lots of devastating world events with oftentimes very disturbing TV coverage. Children of all ages can be traumatized by these images. Many of us feel overwhelmed. You cannot shield your children from devastating world events as coverage is so pervasive. You can help your children.
- Watch the news with your children. However, time spent watching disasters should be limited.
- Encourage them to talk about their feelings. Sharing some of your feelings will help: “I feel upset when I see the earthquake damage.”
- Help your kids to cope. Comfort and some reassurance may be useful. However, total reassurance such as “Everything will be all right,” will not help.
- Demonstrate how you cope, “I worry about earthquakes but I know that there has never been a serious earthquake here.” Or “I worry about earthquakes here, and that is why we do our earthquake drills.”
- If excessively graphic details begin to be shown, turn the TV off. You can say “I don’t need to watch that.”
- As a family, you can do something positive about the events. Make a family donation to the Red Cross or Medecin sans Frontiers (Doctors without Borders) for victims of war and disaster.