How do we talk to children about tragedies?
We live in troubled times in which tragedies are found in everyday life, unfortunately. Whether we are talking about human-caused tragedies (terrorist attacks, wars) or natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires), we are increasingly exposed, directly or through the media. Tragedies generate panic, stress and pain for adults, but even more so for children, no matter how much we want to protect them from the position of parents.
How are children affected by tragedies?
Access to information is very easy nowadays. Children can learn different things, both from the TV and with the help of the Internet. As much of this information is negative, and children do not have the ability to discern it, Your role as a parent is to explain to the little one his meaning about what is going on around him, and to help him feel protected. Because yes, children feel fear on a different level than adults, and as I do not differentiate between something that happens several hundred or thousands of kilometers away, I live in constant fear that it can happen to them or their loved ones.
A tragedy like the most recent one, which took place in Las Vegas and where dozens of people lost their lives or were injured, in addition to the pain and fear they leave behind, is the crunching moment in which a mother he has to tell the child that there are people in this world who choose to hurt other people.
The biggest challenge is the continuous attempt to instill the little trust and optimism, and you as a parent in the desire to protect it, not to grow it in a glass bowl.
What do we tell the child about tragedies, whether we are talking about terrorist attacks or natural disasters?
Caution is desirable. Take into account the age and manner of being of your child. A child under the age of 6-7 cannot handle the information too well, so sensitive topics should be avoided as long as they are not discussed. If, however, he is affected by what he has seen in the news or heard from his friends, try to reassure him and give him information in broad terms.
Talk to the little one and find out exactly what feelings he is trying. In order to be able to provide information, it is necessary to identify what it feels like, whether it is pure curiosity or really fear. Maybe he just heard in the past something that made him uncomfortable or maybe he was exposed to detailed information and he needs you to explain to him how things are. Do not launch into discussions until you know exactly what the child wants to know, there is the possibility of overflowing with too detailed information.
Provide him with all the love and protection on your part. The thought that he or his family can be directly affected by various tragedies can make the little one anxious, the greatest fear of children is that they can be separated from their parents. We know that you cannot guarantee his safety, but assure him of your vigilance and good intention to never let anything bad happen to him, teach him to be cautious.
Don't minimize his fear and encourage him to talk about what scares him. Tell the little one that fear is a normal feeling that we all try on sometimes, adults and children alike, but at the same time teach it that just because you are afraid of something does not mean that that thing will even happen. . Make sure you are there whenever you need to talk, when it comes to a traumatic topic, the child needs time to better understand what he is feeling and will definitely have more questions over time.
Teach him to be empathetic and to understand how important is the support offered to those in difficulty. This is a good time for the little one to receive the first lesson about compassion, to understand that sometimes those around him may face unpleasant or traumatic situations and that if he has been prevented, he can offer support to others around him by acts of kindness. volunteering or through donations.
The little ones are affected by everything that happens around them, make sure you provide them with real and correct explanations depending on the situation, and give her the right means to unload her emotions, whether we are talking about a game that will distract her, a discussion or a good part of crying. With your help, the little one will learn to overcome the difficult moments!
Tags Natural disasters child emotions Quiet children earthquake