Talking about terrorism: tips for parents

Children are exposed to news in many ways, and what they see can worry them. Our advice can help you have a conversation with your child:

*  Listen carefully to a child’s fears and worries.  Instead of shoving too much anxiety-provoking information and reassurance into your kids, ask them what they heard about the Arianna Grande concert in Manchester, England.

*  Offer honest clarification and comfort.

*  Avoid complicated and worrying explanations that could be frightening and confusing.

*  Help them find advice and support to understanding distress events and feelings.

*  Be sure to monitor your own feelings, affect, emotional temperature, and cues you may unintentionally give to your kids.  If you are anxious, they will be, too.

One of the most challenging issues triggered by a terrorist attack is the feeling of lack of control over our life.  Empower your kids by suggesting three (3) things.  1)  suggest that your teen write letters to families affected by the Manchester attacks.  This is therapeutic to your child by expelling and expressing powerful feelings.  2)  if your child wants to donate and help the families, suggest a Bake Sale and contributing the proceeds to an aid organization.  3)  keep lines of communication open with your tween and teen.  Talking is the glue that holds people bonded together.

It’s also important to address bullying and abuse following the terrorist attacks.

Some children may feel targeted because of their faith or appearance
.  Look for signs of bullying, and make sure that they know they can talk with you about it. Often children might feel scared or embarrassed, so reassure them it’s not their fault that this is happening, and that they can always talk to you or another adult they trust. Alert your child’s school so that they can be aware of the issue.

Dealing with offensive or unkind comments about a child’s faith or background

If you think this is happening, it’s important to intervene. Calmly explain that comments like this are not acceptable. Your child should also understand that someone’s beliefs do not make them a terrorist. Explain that most people are as scared and hurt by the attacks as your child is. You could ask them how they think the other child felt, or ask them how they felt when someone said something unkind to them. Explain what you will do next, such as telling your child’s school, and what you expect them to do.