Talking to Children about Acts of Terrorism or Serious Events
Take time to listen & talk.
Children look to
their parents for guidance and reassurance. Even if your
children are reluctant to talk about it at first, take the lead.
What you say matters. Show that it is OK to talk about difficult
As your children
continue to deal with terrorist episodes or serious worldwide
incidents they may have misconceptions or misunderstandings
about what took place, even if they have followed the news
accounts. Talk about it in terms they can understand.
Children may have
unrealistic fears that we do not anticipate. They might fear an
attack on their home or loss of their parents. Take time to find
out what your children are thinking about and reassure them.
presents highly disturbing images and victim accounts that can
be too frightening for most children, particularly those under
the age of 12. Programmes on current affairs like Newsround on
CBBC are perhaps more appropriate. Newsround can be watched live
or issues are covered on their website
Reactions will vary from child to child depending upon a variety of factors including their personality, age, developmental level and personal history. Do remember not all children will appear to be affected by international events. Share your feelings with your children, but set a good example by expressing your feelings in an appropriate and mature manner. Extreme expressions of anger and grief may not be helpful to your child's sense of security and self-control.
Some may not want to think or talk a lot about these events. It
is OK if they'd rather play ball, climb trees, or ride their
children need most is someone whom they trust who will listen to
their questions, accept their feelings, and be there for them.
Don't worry about knowing exactly the right thing to say - there
is no answer that will make everything okay. Silence won't
protect them from what is happening, but silence will prevent
them from understanding and coping with it. Remember that
listening, answering, and reassuring should be at the children's
understandable that children feel angry, but the target of that
anger should be the heartless people that committed the crime.
Discourage stereotypes and prejudice
which grow so easily from hate and fear. If a British citizen
commits an act of terrorism, it does not represent all British
citizens or if English football fans cause havoc somewhere this
doesn't mean all English football fans are violent.
Bake a cake. Go for a walk. Play a favourite game. Do something together as a family that helps your children feel comfortable and secure.