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How can I help my child feel safe after a tragedy in the news?

Michele Borba
Psychology
To help your child feel emotionally safe after a tragedy:
  • Anticipate Concerns: Kids zero in on those violent terms faster than we do and depending on their age may misinterpret those events. Tune into what your child says for clues. Anticipate what your child may concern your child. Then start a dialogue addressing those concerns.
A child's biggest worry after a tragedy is: "Such an event could happen here and it could happen to me and to the people I love and care about. Will I be safe?"
  • Offer Perspective: "That event happened a long way from here." "The police put that bad man in jail so everyone is safe." "All the doctors, firemen and police ran to help." "Everything is safe now."
  • Don't Dwell: Just use a calm, reassuring, matter of fact statement that conveys safety. Answer questions directly, honestly, but at your child's level of understanding. Children also process information differently than adults. They may only tune into parts of what you say as they try to make sense of this information. They may also ask repeated questions. Take your child's lead.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.