Family Safety Tip: How to talk to your kids about Osama bin Laden
It’s all over the news, and your kids are listening and watching. Maybe you’re getting the question: ”Mommy…why are people happy that Osama bin Laden was killed?
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has some advice for how to approach a discussion with your child about recent terrorism related events, like the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden:
1. Wait until your child is ready to talk, don’t force a conversation. Help them express themselves, through art or writing.
2. Answer a child’s questions honestly, using age appropriate concepts for their level of understanding. Don’t overload a child with too much information.
3. Be prepared to repeat explanations or conversations. Asking the same questions over may be your child’s way of asking for reassurance.
4. Avoid stereotyping groups of people by race, nationality, or religion. Use the opportunity to teach tolerance and explain prejudice.
5. Don’t let children watch lots of violent or upsetting images on TV. Repetitive frightening images or scenes can be very disturbing, especially to young children. Children who have experienced trauma or losses may show more intense reactions to tragedies or news of war or terrorist incidents. These children may need extra support and attention.
“Watching, reading, or examining the news together is the best way to gauge a child’s reaction and to help a child or teen deal with the information”, according to Robin F. Goodman, Ph.D. , a clinical psychologist specializing in bereavement issues. “In discussing what is viewed or heard when together, parents and professionals become informed about how the children processed the material and how they feel about it.”
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