News saturates our world. The electronic media makes small events large and dramatic events frightening. Moreover, with around-the-clock media coverage, many news stories feel like they will never end. Read Facts for Families: Children and the News, at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry website.
So what should parents do to help children process news, especially when a frightening or dramatic event is relentlessly covered in the media?
Kids Health (from Nemours) recently posted a short article, How to Talk to Your Child About the News, describing the topics that parents need to cover when they initiate conversations about news events. Kids are so connected to electronic media that violence, disasters, terrorism and other incidents may be typical stories on any given day. The KidsHealth article suggests that parents discuss current events on a regular basis, so that all family members are comfortable when a more difficult conversation follows a scary news story.
To avoid a condition called mean-world syndrome the article suggests that a parent determine how each child’s age affects understanding and then initiate conversations that include the truth about each news event as well as information about a child’s safety. Younger children do not need all of the details — only those facts that they are old enough to process.
For many more suggestions that help read the article. A recording of the post is also available at the site.
Kids Health from Nemours has all sorts of excellent health information for kids, parents and teens.