Parents! Safeguard your children
Our job as parents is to love, reassure, shield and comfort. DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO SHIELD, REASSURE AND SAFEGUARD THEM.
This doesn’t mean showing them scarey images, telling them scarey stories or using threats to get compliance.
Find out what your child knows about the news.
Don’t fill in what they don’t know
Ask what they think about this
Ask where they learned it; if it is from your tv, Turn it off.
Listen to what your child tells you-reassure them of your protection of them,
Help them understand that you and their family are there to protect them.
Do you want to be the one they ask questions of? You are setting the stage for a trustworthy and close relationship if you are able to hear their concerns and soothe.....If you feel inadequate in this area and many of us do, seek out some assistance either through a parenting book, class or through counseling.
Ask a follow-up question. This is where you might get some insight into their thinking. This is where you can possibly reassure, educate, soothe.
Shield children under age eight from disturbing news
I remember one of my own children asking if she could go inside the tv when she was of preschool age. She wanted to join those people having fun. She thought they were in the box, in our house. Kids are not always clear on abstract vs concrete.
I will repeat this... Shield your children from news and any disturbing images; they have no way to understand or process it as of yet remember they don’t know the difference between abstract and concrete, real and pretend, yesterday or today or tomorrow...until they are closer to age 5 or later
Avoid repeated TV viewings of the same news event This is traumatizing, and retraumatizing.. this goes for you as adults too
Monitor older children's exposure to the news. Again, be their source of accurate and manageable information
Process with them if you allow them to watch
Develop an ongoing dialogue with your child about what's happening in the world
If your intention is to raise a thinking, discerning child then asking them questions is a way to encourage this process. We don’t need to know all the answers.
For those who pray add in prayer as a way to soothe concerns, model acts of compassion and love,
Ask your child if they would like to do something as an act of kindness or Christian love.
These incidents put us as parents in a difficult and uncomfortable position; your child may ask questions for example:
What if I die at school
What if you die when I am at school
What happens to me if.........
Why did God let...........
Try to calmly let them know what your plans are, what you believe about God, heaven,
Don’t minimize their concerns:
Take their worries seriously but do not try to soothe their worries with facts.
They need soothing.
They need to not worry about these things.
These are adult worries
There is plenty of time as they are older to learn how frightening our world can seem.
This is a great time to reassure them of God’s love and care.
If your child has been exposed to tv images, stories, pictures, overhearing adults talk, you might have a worried child. Nightmares, sleeping with the light on, worrying about safety may be the result. Watch for these things. Hopefully they are temporary. Reassurance is the best safeguard.
P.S. We know that we cannot always protect our children. We know that bad things happen. We know that horror can ensue. We as adults barely understand these things.