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.
When you ask most 6th, 7th and 8th grade students about their college plans, you will quickly realize that college is the furthest thing from their minds. Middle school students are much more interested in their most recent social media post, the latest video game, their favorite sports team, and hanging out with their friends. And parents, that’s truly okay. Adolescence is a time to explore, learn and have fun. So, don’t stress too much about their lack of interest in building a college list or starting that essay for the college application. With this in mind, parents can do a lot to help prepare their students for college, starting at a young age. The first thing to do? Help them to create a college-going mindset. Here’s how.
Regardless of whether or not you own guns, your child is eventually going to want to talk to you about firearms. Whether they grew up in a family of hunters and shooters or are introduced to guns by television or movies, kids have an innate desire to learn more about the world around them. This may seem like a basic developmental process, part of growing up and determining where we fit in in the world that surrounds us, but those early lessons can have a long-lasting impact. That’s why it’s important to talk to your kids about firearms early on, and the message must be clear.
Anxiety is part of the human experience and at times the word “anxiety” is watered down. People worry about a wide variety of things. Finances, job stability, relationships, child-rearing, health, and safety come to mind as common worries on a day-to-day basis. Not all worrying, however, qualifies as anxiety.
Anxiety disorders include disorders that share features of excessive fear and anxiety that negatively impact functioning. For kids, this might mean that anxiety makes it difficult to get to school each day, make and maintain friends, sleep at night, or focus in the classroom. For adults, work, romantic relationships, friendships, finances, and physical health can suffer. Anxiety manifests in many ways (physical, emotional, and behavioral), and there are several disorders that fall under “anxiety disorders.”