Current events nowadays can be too stressful for adults. Left and right national issues, crimes and tragedies are disturbing. But we cannot disregard the inquisitiveness of our children. Of course, they can watch or hear everything especially when they are on television, radio, and internet.
My 4-year old daughter break me the news she had watched on television about a baby who was accidentally killed by his sister. In details, she told me whole details based on what she sees and heard from the TV anchor. She may be too little to understand but she commented that it was just an accident but could have been prevented if the parents of those siblings are present. And that she would never let that happen to her own sibling.
Instead of keeping them in the dark when they ask, parents should guide them to make those little kids understand what are happening around their society.
Here are few tips you can apply:
1. Discuss the positive and negative side of the news. In cases of crimes which are always on the headlines, tell your child that there are people like policemen and investigators who are helping the victims. This means, good things can also happen despite of the unfortunate events.
2. Discretion. You need not to disclose everything and a little censorship or screening of what he will see, especially about crime news, is advisable. Discuss the story with your child depending on their age and level of maturity. If he happens to see morbid photos or videos of crimes, immediately dismiss it on his eyes and explain to him that it is not for the children’s consumption.
3. Teach your child about media hype, lies and truth. Some media entities tends to sensationalize stories. Also, some stories can be created for personal gain or black propaganda. Tell your child not to believe everything he heard, read or sees on media. It is important to look at things from more than just one angle and a good confirmation.
4. Listen to their comments and communicate. Getting their feedback is important because in that way, not just your child could feel that he is free to talk to you but you would know their fears and understanding or their ability to handle current events and breaking news. Also, listening and giving weight to their comments could make them feel valued thus gain a sense of self respect up to their adulthood.
5. Be sensitive. Laughing at or dismissing your child’s fear would do no good. Don’t just take their questions as silliness or mistaken assumptions instead, keep an open mind and encourage dialogue about their concerns. Explaining the way how things work or what things are, even if you need to repeat it again and again is more advisable.
6. Expect a lot of whys and answer it patiently. Let them ask questions for this is a good sign that your child is willing to learn. Don’t just answer the questions, give your child a chance to try to come up with possible answers first thus this will develop their problem solving skills too. Likewise, never pretend that you knew everything. It is perfectly alright to say to your child that you didn’t know.