How Do You Talk to Your Child About the News?

Natural disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan can be used as a spring board to talk about important life lessons.

I don't know about you, but the news we've heard and the images we've seen lately on the television, radio, or the Internet can  touch on disturbing stories and topics.

Reports on natural disasters, child abductions, homicides, terrorist attacks, terrorist retaliations and school violence can teach kids to view the world as a an unfriendly, scary, confusing, and threatening place.

News about a natural disaster, such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the after effects, could make kids worry that something similar is going to hit home. My own kids have asked me "Earthquakes don't happen here in Maryland though, right, Mom?" 

How can you deal with these disturbing stories and images? Talking to your kids about what they watch or hear will help them put frightening information into a reasonable context.

Maribel Ibrahim May 15, 2011 at 11:41 PM
I try to shield my little ones from the news, but they are bound to hear about big news on the school bus and among friends. Also, now that my oldest is reading, he can read things that are laying around before I've had a chance to mention it. My tactic is to always be honest, especially when they ask a question first and just give basic information. Here's a lighthearted, but poignant conversation I had with my kids about Osama Bin Laden: http://unworker.blogspot.com/2011/05/current-events-osama-story-our-style.html
Caroline Nold May 19, 2011 at 02:29 AM
Natural disasters really hit home with my 8 year old. I have had to explain to her that earthquakes/hurricaines/tornadoes are not common here. (And wouldn't you know we had an earthquake the next day.) She has taken to reading every book on natural disasters she can find and even now says she wants to be a meteorologist. I tried to talk to her about bin Laden but she had already dismissed the 9-11 story and had to be reminded. While I am concerned, maybe she is still really focused on the funny pages more than the front page.


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