top trending topics
💔 In the midst of tragedy, your child will look to you for hope.
🇺🇸 In honor of Memorial Day, here’s how you can support military families.
😎 If your college kid is heading home for the summer, here are some tips to make a smooth transition.
⌚Thinking you need some alone time? Here’s 5 signs why that may be the case.
🍼 1st time parents, if you feel lost, you’re not alone. Read these helpful tips.
tips & tricks for growth
talking about tragedy with your kids
One of the biggest challenges of parenthood is explaining to your children about bad things that happen in our world. How do you talk with children about violence, death and other issues that are often difficult for even adults to handle?
🔍 Examine your own feelings first. It is difficult to talk with your children if you have not evaluated your feelings about what has happened.
For example, talking about death makes many people uncomfortable. Our first inclination is just not to talk about it. Somehow we believe that not talking about it will protect our children. The truth is, instead of protecting, we may cause more concern.
Children seem to intuitively know when something is not right. They want their world to be neat and ordered. When something seems out of kilter, children tend to react out of fear and anxiety.
It is our responsibility as parents to help ease some of these feelings by talking about the situation and helping our children identify their feelings. We also need to teach our children constructive ways to deal with tough situations. Children need information, comfort and understanding to help them process different experiences. But don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers.
You don’t have to say everything at once about a topic. It is best if you don’t because children are easily overwhelmed. When you are ready to talk with your child(ren) about a tragedy, be sure to:
- First, listen carefully to your child.
- Try to clarify exactly what your child wants to know – sometimes we make assumptions and give far more information than the child needs.
- Keep your answers simple and brief and age-appropriate.
- Be honest.
- Be sensitive to their need to talk about the issue – not talking about it can make children more anxious.
dealing with your own anxiety after tragedy
When tragedy happens on a local, national or global level, constantly watching the media coverage can cause you to experience the very real phenomenon of vicarious traumatization. It often shows through anxiety.
“What people often don’t realize is you don’t have to be present at a traumatic event to be traumatized,” says licensed clinical social worker, Pam Johnson. “Just hearing something can create a traumatic event in your mind. Add the visual of repeatedly watching the news segments and you can create some real anxiety. The deeper mind does not differentiate what is happening in real time and what happened in Texas to someone else.”
📵 Limit the amount of time immersed in media. If you just cannot pull yourself away, take a pulse check – literally. If your pulse is high, stop watching. Be mindful of your feelings. Are you angry? Anxious? Tense?
🌳 Take action to reverse the anxiety. Go for a walk. Meditate. Get involved in constructive conversation with others. Pray.
👀 Focus on things over which you have control. Get adequate rest. Eat healthy. Watch sitcoms or movies that don’t aggravate stress. Do things that are calming and soothing to you. Create an emergency plan with your family. Discuss what you would do if you heard gunfire in a public place.
“Most importantly, I would tell people to learn to talk so people will listen and listen so people will talk,” Johnson says. “This is a crucial need in our society. We need to learn how to listen for the need and the heart of another person.”