Each time there’s a mass shooting—and it seems to be happening now more than ever—we find ourselves having trouble finding the words to explain to our children, yet again, why it happened, and why it continues to happen.
In the wake of the double tragedies, many parents are left grappling with how to explain such incomprehensible violence to their children.
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.
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.
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.