Yesterday, when I heard the news about the Boston bombings I was in the car with my 9 year old son. I could see the look on his face in my rear view mirror as the information came thru the radio. Immediately, I knew the questions were about to start. He took a deep breath and quietly said, “mom, why are all these bad things happening?”Follow @fantaseeblu
Not sure if my response would make him feel any safer in a world where these senseless acts of violence are occurring way too often. What I don’t want is for my child to miss out on childhood memories such as, going to the movies or perhaps a ball game where there’s crowds of people that reminds him of the Boston bombings. This morning, I found a great article for parents looking for the right words to tell their kids about the events of yesterday.
When tragic events, like the Boston Marathon bombings, appear on the news, it can be hard on adults, but for kids it can be even more confusing. Many parents may want to shield their kids from news of a disastrous event but it’s difficult. Kids will often find out about it from TV, the internet or friends at school.
Jennifer Evans, a licensed mental health counselor and traumatologist at the Department of Children and Families specializes in compassion fatigue, and she offers these signs to look for in your children and ways you can comfort your child during this time.
Be Clear: Talking about tragedy and death can be very difficult for anyone. Being clear and only answering what the child is asking will help them to understand without getting into too much graphic detail. Try using dialogue like, “When people die, their bodies stop working.”
Be Available: Let your kids ask the questions. Start by asking them, “What do you think happened?” Allow them to guide the conversation where they need to go to help them cope.
Stay Calm: Children learn emotional reactions and coping through adults. The way adults react to events is often the way the child perceives and reacts to the event. It is okay to cry and show concern and emotion, and then to show appropriate ways to cope and heal. Try using dialogue like, “It is okay to feel confused and hurt. Sometimes people cry to show how sad they are. This allows their body to feel better.”
To read more of Jennifer’s signs, read here.
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