Sometimes we hear about horrifying events such as mass shootings. They are incomprehensible even for adults. So how do we talk about them to small children? How do we break such news? Violence happens all the time, and it’s always on news, on every media outlet. We can’t protect children from news, so we have to prepare them and prepare ourselves for explaining grave news every time they ask. The main point is opening a discussion with the child instead of just telling the facts. Children deserve to know how often this kind of events happen, why they happen, what it means to other people. And it’s crucial for children to learn how to express their own feelings. It has an immense impact on their ability to communicate emotions at hard times. First of all, you must show your own emotions. How do you feel about the accident? Are you sad? Are you angry? Maybe you feel ashamed? Why do you think you feel all of that? When children see grown-ups feeling familiar emotions and expressing those emotions, they learn to deal with their own. Pain doesn’t go away easily but at least fighting confusion can make things better for a start. In addition to that, children are often extremely curious and want to find out more detail than you would prefer to discuss. Always address those questions in a depth that you think the child can understand at this age. Kids often receive this information not only from media, but also from their peers who might exaggerate. Let the children tell you what they know, be the one who asks questions and let them analyze the events. But of course, they need your input as well. Tell them what you know for a fact. Don’t frame their subsequent judgments and be careful to avoid accidentally oppressing their feelings. Be open and build an open environment.

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