Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why its important to talk about tragedies with the young

There are always going to be things that happen in this world that are beyond our control. Whether it be due to a natural disaster or a man made terror. We as adults are custom to trying to deal with what life throws at us. Our children are the ones that often times get forgotten in the chaotic aftermath of tragedy.

By now most of the world's children have either suffered  or have learned about the horrible stuff that goes on in the adult world. You don't have to be a child psychologist, to know that children understand the world differently. Their understanding of events that shape their lives, is a different reality to how we adults understand a situation. And that is the reason why it is important to talk about tragedies.

What I am not suggesting is an explanation that full of the nitty-gritty or the very serious nature of a situation. But talking to your child about how a certain situation made them feel. Most times, for a child, its fear. They will see the full range of emotions that most of us have, when something tragic happens, but to full comprehend those emotions, they just can't. They are going to hear about things that happen in the world, as we have entered into an age where information is passed so quickly and openly, that is its hard to tune stuff out. So you can't shelter them off from the world.

So what do we do to help our young ones understand tragedy?With so much going on in the world, its very easy to get confused.

There are so many things from Mr. Rodgers to Sesame Street that have excellent starting points on how to start a conversation. But you need to find a dialog that is appropriate for you, as well as your child. You know just how much your child can understand about things. Trying to find the right wording or basis can be hard. Its hard to talk about difficult things. Especially things that deal with death or a disruption of their daily life. Maintain that open dialog. Address those fear that they have. Make sure they know who to trust and who not to.

Children are ultimately going to learn about the world, whether we like it or not. But it is our job to make sure they understand that things aren't going to be rainbows and puppies. We, as parents need to be prepared to talk to our children about things, so they have a better understanding of this world. That they know if something bad does happen, certain feelings are ok.

For me, I have had to have the open dialog with my children, as their father is military. I don't get into the specifics of why their father has to go away. But they do know that there are people who live on this planet that aren't nice and that they do bad things. They understand who they can go to if something bad happens.

With the world being the way it is, it is important that our children know that fear is only natural. Its ok to be uncertain. But that they know they have trusted people they can talk to about their feelings.

The world is shaping up to be a scary place and our children need to be prepared for that reality.