We see and hear about violence in the news, on social media, and we hear people talk about it everywhere we go.
In this week’s Raising North Dakota, Alysia Huck shares how we as parents can help our children cope with their emotions.
The first line of defense is to filter the information about the crisis, so they are not overexposed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents and caregivers to talk to their children about tragic events, but in a way they can process and cope with the information.
Ask your child what they’ve heard, then ask them what questions they may have, and be frank with your answers.
The AAP recommends sharing BASIC information, and to avoid too many details.
It’s really a fine line because experts also say not to be too vague.
And, be proactive … it’s best that a child hears about a crisis or tragic event from a parent or caregiver before hearing about it on the playground, or seeing it on their phone.
With older children, the AAP suggests parents watch the news with their children, and stop and have discussions when needed.
Some signs that your child may not be coping with a situation well include:
– Sleep problems
– Physical complaints such as headaches, change in eating habits, or generally unwell
– You may notice changes in your child’s behavior – maybe they’re more agitated, acting more immature, or clingy
– Emotional problems such as fear, sadness, anxiety or depression
Ultimately, don’t wait for the signs – it’s best to start the conversation early and keep the dialogue going.