Michele Borba, EdD, is an educational psychologist and parenting and child expert who is recognized for her practical, solution-based strategies to build strong families and strengthen children s behavior and character. Dr.…
How Can I Help My Child Feel Safe After a Tragedy in the News?
Posted in Parenting Big K... by Michele Borba on May 13, 2014
To help your child feel emotionally safe after a tragedy:

- Anticipate Concerns: Kids zero in on those violent terms faster than we do and depending on their age may misinterpret those events. Tune into what your child says for clues. Anticipate what your child may concern your child. Then start a dialogue addressing those concerns.

A child's biggest worry after a tragedy is: "Such an event could happen here and it could happen to me and to the people I love and care about. Will I be safe?"

- Offer Perspective: "That event happened a long way from here." "The police put that bad man in jail so everyone is safe." "All the doctors, firemen and police ran to help." "Everything is safe now."

- Don't Dwell: Just use a calm, reassuring, matter of fact statement that conveys safety. Answer questions directly, honestly, but at your child's level of understanding. Children also process information differently than adults. They may only tune into parts of what you say as they try to make sense of this information. They may also ask repeated questions. Take your child's lead.

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The day after 9-11, my then 10-year-old daughter was acting very strange and ugly with me. This continued until I grabbed the newspaper, pointed to the headline about the tragic events and screamed "Are you upset about this? Because I am too!" After that, my daughter immediately settled down. It is best to let our children know that we are also upset when national tragedies occur. Children aren't dumb, they know all too well when something has gone terribly wrong in the world.
By booboobabies  May 16, 2014
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