Esther Andrews

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How to Help Your Child Cope with World News

     Just a few days ago we were informed of the savage terrorist bombings in London. Everyone was shocked, and many of us discussed the day's events with family and friends. What we often don't realize is - our young ones also listen and hear our discussions.

     We all want to protect our children, and shield them from anxiety. As a result, our natural tendency is to avoid discussing the events with our children. Since our children live amongst us, hear our conversations, the television reports and the radio with us, they are aware of what is happening, but might not have the background information, the judgment and experience to know how to cope with the world news. They might be affected in ways we don't know about or don't expect. The news might frighten them, depress them, or cause a feelings of sadness and grief. 

     We need to keep our children informed with what is happening in the world. If we want to have exceptionally intelligent children, it is not enough to teach them reading, sciences and history. We need to educate them, so that they are connected and informed with what is happening all around us, what is happening in the world.       

      Since you are the parent, and you know your child best, you have to judge what amount of information is appropriate for your child, and in what detail. The amount of information you share with your child will differ by age and may vary from one child to another. 

      Here are some pointers of how to help our child cope with the situation, understand the news, and even take the opportunity to teach them some history, values and general knowledge.

-   Inform yourself about the situation first. Make sure you have the knowledge needed . For example, in the case of London, get a hold of as much information about London. Geography, history, political situation. Get the information that you need, and adapt it to the level appropriate for your child. If it's a conflict between two groups of people or two nations, inform yourself very well about the history of the conflict, the history of all nations involved. In the case of a bombing, for example, prepare a map that will provide for your child an understanding of how far London is from where you live. After you have the background information and the facts, provide the information that is appropriate to your child in an organize and easy to understand way.

-   Be honest, don't conceal facts, tell the truth. Our children are very smart, and they know when they are lied to. This might increase their anxiety, or shake their confidence in you.

-   Think ahead of time, what values and moral principles you would like to instill in your child, as a result of this event. You can teach ideas of war and peace, value of life, tolerance, freedom. Discuss the event with your child, and use this to explain your values. 

-   In order to stimulate a good discussion, ask your child what they have heard and what they know about the news. This will give you the opportunity to correct any misconceptions or provide additional information that is needed in order to understand the situation. Ask open ended question, like "what do you think about..." or "what do you think should be done about it...". Let your child express their opinions, feelings and let them think of possible solutions.

-  If a conflict is involved, present your child with all sides of conflict. Give your child a good and fair understanding of the conflict and the issues involved.

-  Inform your child about any actions that are being taken to remedy the situation. What safety measures are being taken here to prevent similar attacks to occur here, in our environment. What is being done to protect us. Any information that will make our kids feel more secure.

-  Have some control over media exposure. We all value the freedom of speech, but we don't find it necessary to expose our children to all of it. Make sure your child is not exposed to very detailed and frightening images that might cause unnecessary anxiety. 

-  Take a good look at yourself. Do you have anxieties that might come through in this discussion? As mentioned before, children are very smart, and they pick up on our anxieties and feelings. Make sure you communicate with your child sincerely and logically.

     If you do all these, your child will be informed, gain knowledge from world events, feel assured that he gets all the information needed. Your child will have the opportunity to voice his opinions and express his fears and concerns, and the bond between you and your child will be stronger than ever. 

     May we all have more good and happy events to share with our children than stressful and sad news, like the news we had to deal with this past week!





Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to accurately represent this information. We do not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or results of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed. Any claims of actual results and examples used are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results.                         
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