Ask any parent, and they will tell you that they wish they could shield and protect their children from all the bad in the world. As a parent, I understand that sentiment more than anything. There’s nothing more I’d like than to allow my children outside to play from sun up to sun down without a care in the world, a locked gate, and the worry that something terrible will happen. Unfortunately, in a world with terrorists, kidnappers, rapists, murderers, and so many other scary things, I can’t do that. I have to see my children at all times, and they are never out of my sight. Even so, I can’t protect them from everything, which is why it is important that I, and every other parent in the world, knows how to talk to their kids when bad things happen. The way mom and dad handle bad news with their children is important.
For the most part, you can avoid talking to your children about bad things that are happening in the world. Wait until they ask you, and then make sure you keep your answer as simple as possible. Older children will ask if they are curious, but younger children might be too small to understand what they see on television or hear on the news.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to dealing with children, sometimes the simplest answer is the best. They are tough, but they can’t always handle the truth. Gloss over the gory details as much as possible by saying that sometimes people do bad things, but that those things won’t happen to your kids.
Your child may ask you a question, but you should also ask some questions of your own. For example, you should check with your kids regarding how they feel about something. Ask them where they heard the information they are asking about and how that makes them feel. This will help you work your answer around their feelings.
Don’t Belittle Feelings
Don’t tell your children they are wrong to feel a certain way. Never tell them they are wrong to feel afraid, or scared, or nervous. Tell them it’s okay to feel that way, that it’s perfectly natural, and then explain to them how they can feel better.