How to talk with your children about tragic events. Part 1
As my family and I listened in horror to the news of yet one more mass murder via the Las Vegas shootings, I wondered what advice I could possibly give mothers in a world where no place seems immune from violence.
It's infiltrated our schools, the malls, churches, coffee shops, concert halls, movie theaters, airplanes, even our vacation destinations. Unfortunately, violence is a very real condition of our modern culture so in the next few blogs I'll share some insights to help you address tragic events with your children.
First, let's explore how to discuss tragic events with your small children. In a nutshell, you don't. These types of subjects are too intense for little guys and should only be discussed when absolutely necessary. This may sound counter-intuitive to open communication so let me explain.
It is imperative we protect children from hearing and seeing subject matter they are too young to properly process. Small children, especially ages one-five, do not have the cognitive ability to grasp the concept of death or atrocities committed against humanity. I encourage you to refine the art of "grown-up conversations" and keep them for grown-up ears only. We have filter systems that help us categorize painful information in order to deal with it, but young children don't possess these filters yet. In their world, even cartoon characters are real. Children see, hear, and feel far more than you realize. It's okay to turn off the news. If your little ones do ask you questions, don't ignore them or dismiss their fears, instead empower them with the following formula:
First, acknowledge their fear.
Next, assure their safety.
Third, provide simple facts or instructions.
I'll explain how to do this in more depth in the next blog. Meanwhile, Mom's, you are the answer for our nation, but we can't do this alone. Share this with another mom so we can all do this together.
We've got this...
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