Posts Tagged ‘ catastrophic events ’

How Parents Can Discuss Difficult Topics

Monday, June 13th, 2011

parent-child-talkA few weeks ago, we shared a few tips from Project Recovery Iowa on how parents can talk to kids about natural disasters.

We interviewed Project Recovery Iowa to provide you with more advice on the ways parents can discuss catastrophes and tragic news stories without traumatizing children. Advice includes being sensitive to your children’s reactions and emphasizing the government’s progress to prevent/reduce suffering.

There is also helpful responses based on different age groups (ages 1-5, 6-11, 12-18) and ideas on how to cope with grief.

Read the full interview on how to talk to kids about difficult topics.

 

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Tips for Talking to Kids About Natural Disasters

Friday, May 27th, 2011

tornado-oklahomaNatural disasters are making the news again, the most recent being an endless string of tornadoes that struck mostly midwestern and southern states in the U.S., including Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Indiana, and Missouri.  Increasing TV updates and news photos focusing on the death toll and destruction brings to mind other disturbing images of the Japan tsunami from March.

Parents.com consulted experts from Project Recovery Iowa, a  Department of Human Services program funded by FEMA and administered by the state of Iowa. Project Recovery Iowa offers mental health counseling for those affected by natural disasters.  The program was started in 2008 to assist people coping with the after effects of severe storms and flooding in Iowa.  Amanda Gesme, Children’s Manager at Project Recovery Iowa and licensed mental health counselor, shared advice on how parents can talk to kids about natural disasters.

First, parents should approach the topic of tragic events in a calm, patient, and truthful manner.  If your children are aware of current events, it’s ok to ask them first to start a discussion and answer questions, even ones that are repeated over and over.  Kids are looking for reassurance when processing information, so be open to talking.  Even if you don’t have all the answers, says Gesme, validate what your child tells you.  However, make sure to limit exposure to media or any unnecessary details.  “Children are smart — even if parents are careful and talk in whispers or behind closed doors, they know that ‘something’ is going on,” explains Gesme.  Even children as young as 2 years old are aware when something important is happening.

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Talking to Kids About Tragedies and Disasters

Friday, March 11th, 2011

parent-child-talkThe 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan and caused a tsunami calls to mind other large-scale natural disasters from past years, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami and earthquake in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the Haiti earthquake in 2010. 

Oftentimes, talking about tragedies–whether worldwide or personal ones–can be difficult.  It involves explaining how and why bad things can happen to good people in the world, cultivating your child’s empathy and compassion, and making sure your child understands serious events without being too upset, scared or traumatized.

In light of this recent event, here are some guidelines to help you explain natural disasters and catastrophes to kids.

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