In light of the recent horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, parents nationwide are not only left heartbroken but also confused as to next steps when it comes to talking to their own kids about what happened. It’s hard enough for us as adults to wrap our minds around what happened, so to ask our children to do it by themselves is not realistic. While very young children probably don’t need to be made aware of the situation because more than likely they aren’t going to know about it or understand enough to know what’s going on, it is important to talk to children old enough to see it in the media or hear about the incident from friends. Here are some tips from Dr. Helena Duch, Psy.D and Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health on how to help your child deal with a complicated issue such as this one:
- Be patient
- Don’t ignore their questions
- Ask your child about what he or she already knows
- Be consistent with our answers
- Be aware that your child may keep bringing up a specific topic because it may take time for he/she to process information.
No matter how we decide to treat this tragedy, it will still be a difficult one. Reveal age appropriate information and always be honest. It’s important that your child know that they can trust and talk to you. Don’t give too many details that they don’t need and that they didn’t ask for. As parents, the best thing we can do is show our children that there is more good in the world than bad and try to keep life moving. Most importantly, enjoy each moment with your precious child. Kiss them, hug them and tell them that you love them as often as you can.
What are some suggestions that you have to help your child deal with this horrible tragedy?