Just like adults, children and teenagers are better able to cope with upsetting news when they understand more about an event and how it might impact them. Often what children and teens need the most is to have someone they trust listen to their questions and concerns, accept their feelings, and be there for them.
Tips from the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement on how to talk to your child:
- Don’t worry about knowing the perfect thing to say
- Listen to your child’s thoughts and concerns
- Answer their questions with simple direct and honest responses. Remember that answers and reassurance should be at the level of the child’s understanding
- Provide appropriate reassurance and support
- Know when to seek outside help such as when your child continues to be upset for several days or seems unable to recover from their fears or is having trouble in school or home or with their friends.
National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement flier: Talking to Children About Terrorist Attacks and School and Community Shootings in the News