Talk To Your Kids About Terrorism. You Must Know What They’re Thinking
- JWB Post
- November 16, 2015
The recent abominable Paris attacks have initiated an upsurge of tweets around the world under the hashtag #MuslimsAreNotTerrorist. Sure, the news of the attacks has made everyone’s hearts plunge into an oblivion of sadness, but this one particular tweet out of the whole lot worried us even more.
— cat from paramore (@acidxlrh) November 14, 2015
It got us thinking about the impact that such horrid incidents have over children. I mean, we adults have a way of expressing ourselves, forming judgements and reaching conclusions, don’t we? But how are the kids supposed to react to all this?
And try as we may, we cannot keep them away from such news, at least not in this technology-surrounded world that we live in. It is important to channelize their fears, deal with their anxiety and answer their queries. Otherwise, they, just like the kid referred to in this tweet, will grow up with perceptions that may not be true. We might even be unknowingly breeding future misanthropes by not making a clean breast of such situations in front of the kids when they are young.
Here’s an extract from family coach and psychotherapist Carole Bloch’s article which tells you about how you could talk to your kids about the attacks.
For younger children (ages four to six), it might be useful for you to explain what happened as if you were telling a story about good people and villains, without worrying too much about the words. You could also use sketches or a game to help you tell the story.
With children who are a few years older, you could make references to video games, in which there’s often scenes of violence.
For teenagers, such incidents may be an opportunity to bring up issues surrounding politics or religion.
The risk of not saying anything at all –in an effort to protect them– may actually push them to develop considerable anxiety, which could lead to nightmares and even depression a few weeks or months later.
If you feel that they’re sad and shaken up, do not neglect it, thinking that “it will pass.” Consult a doctor or a psychologist who would help them to express their feelings.
Children need to be heard, and reassured that what you’re feeling and going through is not their fault. And don’t forget, the younger ones are like sponges, they can sense even the emotions you’re not expressing!
This does not imply coloring your kids’ judgement; it only means letting them know that their parents are with them, to help them get over the trauma caused by such incidents.