Talking Tragedy With Children - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Talking Tragedy With Children

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SALISBURY, Md. - Talking to children about national tragedies can be difficult. With Monday's shootings at the Navy Yard, there is a renewed interest in finding out just how to discuss this delicate topic, and easing children's fears.

Experts say that children are perceptive and will more than likely hear about the events at school, from a friend or on the news, so it's better that they hear it from parents in a calm, explaining tone.

"The child is going to have some kind of feeling about what's going on," said Dr. Kathy Seifert.

She adds that a child should be able to express their feelings, and have them validated by a parent. That outlet can be a number of different activities.
"If things are really really scary, you want to start out with either a picture or a story, something that's not so direct and they can deal with that easier than a direct conversation," Seifert said.

She says those are the steps that can lead up to a conversation about what's happening.  

"As a parent, you want to remain very calm, because that will reassure them that it's being taken care of, and we don't really have to worry about it right here," Seifert said.

And she adds that admitting your feelings and expressing them are important for both children and adults. And if those feelings of anxiety and worry continue for several weeks, you may want to consider finding someone to talk to that can help alleviate your fears.

"It's not a sign of weakness, but of strength."

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