Friday, April 19, 2013

Talking to Kids About Tragedy

Many of us would love it if the bombing in Boston on Monday was the last time something like that would happen.  We'd love it if violence would cease and work hard to teach our kids that violence is not the answer.  Yet we know Monday won't be the last time that something horrible and inexplicable happens. 

Even still, it's sometimes hard to know what to say about it...especially to kids.  In our household, we don't watch much TV, so I haven't had to explain to Esme what is going on.  But I know the time will come when I will.  And in times like this, kids need to hear (especially from those they are closest to) that things will be okay.  That's why it is helpful to have something in our toolkit that helps us deal with tragedy. With that in mind, I've pulled together a few resources that might be helpful.
    Mister Rogers
  1. Look for the Helpers- Fred Rogers is know for saying that when he was young and bad things would  happen, his mom would tell him to look for the helpers...that there are always people helping.  When we help our kids look for the helpers in a tragic situation, it is also a way of helping them see God's light and recognize God's presence in the midst of darkness.  For more helpful suggestions from Mr. Rogers, check out this article.
  2. Vibrant Faith at Home has some helpful resources for parents that include everything from a video on how to talk to your kids about traumatic events, a guide for parents about children and violence, and an activity called A Bad Day to do with kids that reminds them that we all have bad days and that no matter what happens, God is with us. 
  3. Allow there to be space in your family for questions, even those you don't know the answers too.  Kids need to know that they can come to you with whatever questions they have and talk to you about anything, especially those things they don't understand.  
  4. Last but not least, hug your kids.  Spend time with them.  Remind them in as many ways as you can that you will do everything in your power to keep them safe.  After that, entrust the rest to God.

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