How great it is to live in a world where information is always at our fingertips. But having access to all the information can be a curse, especially when it’s not filtered. I am not just talking about pornographic content, I’m talking about the news. The terror attacks, the natural disasters, all the scary stuff that is unfortunately out of our control and our kids are exposed to and in need of our guidance.
A few years ago while my kids were in elementary school. The horrible massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School happened. I remember struggling with the questions of “what am I supposed to tell them?”
“Do I tell them at all? But what if they hear about it some place else?”
My worst fear was, I didn’t want them to feel unsafe. I struggled with how to tell them but still make them feel safe?
From my experience with my own children, children younger than 8, unless have to ,do not need to know.
Which means if you want to stay informed be discreet. Do not open the TV or radio on any news channel. Not all information is relevant to them.
Those horrible images, and repetitive talks on TV makes it more real and brings it closer to home.
If your child has access to the internet, surf it with them and make sure the content is relevant.
Unfortunately my kids were younger than 8 at the time. We lived closed by to where it happened, and I had to speak with them. At our school the issue was not addressed unless the child or parent asked for it. My husband and I knew it was just a matter of time before our kids hear about it so we initiated the talk.
This is an ongoing dialogue with the kids. Don’t make your discussion a one time talk. It has to be a series of conversations. They may have questions or concerns while doing things they enjoy, cooking, playing ball, watching TV, etc.
When we talk about teen age kids, the reality is that they probably already know what happened.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t need to speak with them. Exactly the opposite. Check in with them.
Many teens will feel passionately about events and may even personalize them if someone they know has been directly affected. They’ll also probably be aware that their own lives could be affected by violence. Try to address their concerns without dismissing or minimizing them.
We all cope with events differently. Kids are no different. It’s your job as their parent to be there for them.
If you feel that you or them need extra support do not hesitate to ask for help.Horrible news affect us all. I consulted at the time with the school psychologist, but your pediatrician, social services are good resource as well. They are all here to help.
Originally published at medium.com