The moment I heard about the terrorist attacks in Paris, I knew that once again children were being exposed to trauma. Adults will be glued to televisions, tablets and smart phones to get the latest updates of this horrific event. They will have conversations with other adults on the soccer field, coffee shops and over the phone. Our security and safety has once again been jeopardize and we begin to think, what if it happens here?
We may not even realize that watching the news coverage or talking to others about it, that we are exposing kids to trauma, fear and anxiety. I think that it is important to have conversations with children about what is happening in the world, but to do so in appropriate doses and using language that they will be able to understand. You also want to reassure them of their safety, validate their feelings and give them opportunities to process these events in various modalities.
Here are some great articles to help ease the fear associated to trauma and terrorism:
How to Help Your Child Deal With the Anxieties of Terrorism
How Much News Coverage is OK for Children?
Understanding Child Traumatic Stress
Terrorism: National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Talking to Kids About Tragic News Stories
My deepest condolences to the victims and their families in France. My heart is heavy and I will be sending love and prayers your way.