Talking to your kids about tragedies - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Talking to your kids about tragedies


Talking to children about the local school threats, the explosions in Boston - and now the possibility of a deadly substance being sent to a Senator's office, is not the easiest task.

It's become even more of a difficulty in this age of instant pictures posted to places like Facebook and Twitter. Especially when almost every other kid over ten is walking around with a smart phone or tablet lately.

However, some psychiatrists recommend restricting the amount of material kids are exposed to in times like these.

"We really just hate to turn on the news anymore," said Elkhart resident Laurie Eppers about all the tragedies lately.

Eppers isn't the only one who tries to avoid bad news, with all the tragedies over the last year many families say they find it hard to cope with what they are seeing on television. Especially families with young kids.

However, psychiatrists say regardless of what parents might do to block their kids from news, odds are they will learn what's going on in the world with all the technology they have available. Dr. Suhayl Nasr from the Memorial Epworth Center says it's best to be ready to talk to them about it.

"Just make comments like what do you think? Or how do you feel about this? What's your reaction? Did you see this and what do you think about it? So that  [children] can neutralize the emotions by talking about them," said Dr. Nasr.

Elkhart resident Sarah Robinson has a daughter who is only five years old, so she tries to keep her away from as much bad news as possible. Though she does say she is always prepared to talk if something gets brought up.

"I try and tell her the truth and try and talk to her about it and get her to understand," said Robinson. "But also let her know it's not something that's okay to do because the world is crazy right now."

Dr. Nasr says some children will move on from tragedies much easier than others. He believes parents should make sure their child is at ease before just dropping the topic.

"Me and my husband we both try and find some of the good in some of the stuff," said Mindy Replogle.

Dr. Nasr says taking that approach can be helpful. For example talk to your kids about the people who reached out to help during the tragedy.  Clearly something many are trying to do    as a Mr. Rogers quote about "Looking for the helpers" went viral in the hours after the tragedy.

"There's a lot of good things that happen every day and there's a lot of safe days," said Dr. Nasr. "There's a lot more safe days then there are of these bad days."

Dr. Nasr added after a child feels comfortable with what's happened in a tragedy, it's then important to distance them from continuing to follow it to avoid any more worries.

Experts say adults who are having trouble dealing with these events should stick to their normal routines and avoid making any major life decisions.

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