4. Talk to Kids About Tough Issues
Children do not have the same capability as adults to process current events. From your own financial woes to scary international news, the world can quickly appear like a very frightening place for children, so it’s natural for parents to want to spare them from the gory details of life. This can do more harm than good.
“Mayhem and misfortune exist,” writes Richard E. Cytowic M.D. in Psychology Today. “So does evil, malice, and catastrophe due to natural forces for which no one is to blame. One can explain harsh realities to children in a manner appropriate for their age. Children easily figure out when they are being deceived. To pretend that harsh realities don’t exist ultimately breaches trust.”
The key here is age-appropriate information. HealthyChildren.org suggests asking the child what they have heard so you have a starting point for the conversation. They suggest sharing basic information with children, not graphic or unnecessary details. “Children and adults alike want to be able to understand enough so they know what’s going on,” the site offers. “Graphic information and images should be avoided.”