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Health Information For Parents
Seeing news about upsetting events — like terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and natural disasters — can make kids worry that something similar could happen to them or their loved ones. It also can make them fear some part of daily life (like thunderstorms) that they never worried about before.
Parents can help kids deal with these disturbing stories and images. Talk together about what they watch or hear and put frightening information into a reasonable context.
Depending on their age or maturity level, kids might not yet understand the differences between fact and fantasy.
But by the time they’re 7 or 8, what kids see on TV can seem all too real. For some, coverage of a sensational news story is internalized and becomes something that might happen to them. A child watching a news story about a bus bombing or a shooting in a crowded public place might worry, “Could I be next? Could that happen to me?”
Natural disasters can be personalized in the same way. Kids who see footage of floods from a hurricane far away may spend a sleepless night worrying about whether their home will be OK in a rainstorm.
TV and the Internet “shrink” the world and bring it into our homes. With a focus on violent stories, the news can make the world seem more dangerous to kids than it really is.
To calm children’s fears about the news, parents should be prepared to deliver the truth, but only as much truth as a child needs to know. The key is to be honest and help kids feel safe. There’s no need to go into more details than your child is interested in.
Although it’s true that some things — like a natural disaster — can’t be controlled, parents should still give kids space to share their fears. Encourage them to talk openly about what scares them.
Older kids are less likely to accept an explanation at face value. Their budding skepticism about the news and how it’s produced and sold might mask anxieties they have about the stories covered. If older kids are bothered by a story, help them cope with these fears. An adult’s willingness to listen sends a powerful message.
Teens also can be encouraged to consider why a frightening or disturbing story was on the air: Was it to increase the program’s ratings or because it was truly newsworthy? In this way, a scary story can be turned into a worthwhile discussion about the role and mission of the news.
It’s always important to keep an eye on kids’ TV and online viewing habits so you know what they hear and see. Other tips:
One of the most satisfying, fun, and productive ways to unite as a family is volunteering for community service projects. It sets a good example for your kids and helps the community.
As terrible and frightening as incidents of school violence are, they are rare. But it’s natural for kids to worry. Here’s how to help them deal with these fears.
When natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes strike, it’s natural for people to want to help. Here are some ways to do that.
Hurricanes can be scary for grown-ups and kids alike. Here are some tips to help them â and you â be ready during hurricane season.
Technology can be part of a healthy childhood, but it’s important for parents to track their kids’ screen time and set limits.
It’s normal for children to feel afraid at times. Parents can help kids feel safe and learn to feel at ease.
TV, interactive video games, and the Internet can be excellent sources of education and entertainment, but too much plugged-in time can have unhealthy side effects.
Disasters, like earthquakes and tornadoes, are serious problems. Find out more about these difficult situations and how to help people in need.
Volunteering gives you an opportunity to change lives, including your own. Get ideas on things you can do and tips on getting started in this article for teens.
After hearing news of school shootings or other violence, it’s natural for students â no matter how old they are or where they go to school â to worry about whether this type of incident may someday happen to them or their friends.
Sometimes after experiencing a traumatic event, a person has a strong and lingering reaction known as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Getting treatment and support can make all the difference.
Kids and teens who live through a traumatic event can develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Healing is possible with the help of professional counseling and support from loved ones.
Many people find the best way to deal with the news of a tragedy is to help. Find out what you can do.
Volunteering gives you a great feeling because you know you’re making a difference. Find out more in this article for kids.
Being a kid doesn’t always mean being carefree – even the youngest tots worry. Find out what stresses kids out and how to help them cope.
Nightmares aren’t totally preventable, but parents can help kids feel better when they have one and ease their transition back to sleep.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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