Dramatic, disturbing news events can leave parents speechless. These age-based tips on how to talk to kids about the news—and listen, too—can help.
If it bleeds, it leads. The old newsroom adage about milking stories for sensationalism seems truer than ever today. And with technology doing the heavy lifting—sending updates, tweets, posts, and breaking news alerts directly to our kids’ phones—we parents are often playing catch-up. Whether it’s wall-to-wall coverage of the latest natural disaster, a horrific mass shooting, a suicide broadcast on social media, or a violent political rally, it’s nearly impossible to keep the news at bay until you’re able to figure out what to say. The bottom line is that elementary school-aged kids and some middle schoolers have trouble fully understanding news events. And though older teens are better able to understand current events, even they face challenges when it comes to sifting fact from opinion—or misinformation.
More American teens and young adults appear to be struggling with mental health issues, and experts believe a number of cultural trends may help explain why. A new study found the percentage of teens and young adults with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues has increased sharply over the past decade.
On an almost daily basis, each of us encounters problems to be solved, questions to be answered decisions to be made, and a pile of things we would like to accomplish. In short, every day requires us to navigate through stress. As DiFranco would advise, we have to bend to what life brings, in order to avoid breaking.
Our country is seeing a tragic trend with #massshootings, and it is affecting our youth. So how do you talk about scary and tragic news with your kids?
The American Psychological Association suggests that instead of shielding children from the dangers, violence or tragedies around us, adults should talk to kids about what is happening.
They can be some of the most frustrating and embarrassing child behaviors—temper tantrums, lashing out at others, impatience, and short attention spans. So what can you do about them? Research has found that having a sense of mindfulness, or the ability to be present and think before reacting, can provide children with the skills they need to better understand their feelings, to pay more attention and to make wiser decisions. The hidden benefit of practicing mindfulness with your family is that as parents you get to reap the benefits too. Here are eight easy ways to get started: