Tough Topics – Important Conversations

Tough Topics – Important Conversations
Posted on 11/30/2015
Given the current climate both globally and in the U.S., we realize many of us will be having difficult conversations with our children. Here are some tips from American Academy of Pediatrics that may be helpful in reassuring your children regarding their safety and/or helping them gain a developmentally appropriate understanding, when necessary. No matter what the age, start by asking children what they already know and what questions they have and use that as a guide for the conversation
  • Very young children: Provide concrete explanations of what happened and how it will (or will not) affect them. Let children know there are many people are working to help them and their community remain safe. 
  • Share with them the steps that are being taken to keep them safe; children often worry that a disaster will occur again. 
  • Older children: They will likely want, and benefit from, additional information about the event, even if it was a false alarm. 
  • Limit media coverage of any disaster – if children are going to watch media coverage, consider taping it (to allow adults to preview) and watch along with them to answer questions and help them process the information. 
  • While children may seek, and benefit from, basic information so that they can understand what is happening in their world, they (and adults) do not benefit from graphic details or exposure to disturbing images or sounds. In the aftermath of a crisis, it is a good time to disconnect from all media and sit down together and talk as a family.
  • Be sure to ask children what questions or concerns they have. Often they have fears based on limited information or because they misunderstood what they were told. 
Adapted from

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