DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As the world processes the deadly attacks in Brussels, parents of young children here at home are helping their kids to try and do the same and that can be tough knowing what’s appropriate to share and what may not be right for your child.
Experts say when terrible events happen like the attacks in Brussels, a parent’s first instinct might be to shield their child from what’s happen. While it is a normal reaction, psychologists say don’t delay telling your child because they’ll likely find out what happen and it’s best if it comes from you.
“The most important thing is to ask your child where they’re at, what they know, what they’ve heard, to get the information from them,” pediatric psychologist Joy Miceli said. “And them respond based on what they say, rather than what we think they might be thinking our feeling.”
Joy Miceli–a pediatric psychologist with Care House–says one of the best ways to do that is to watch the coverage with them because kids can react in different ways.
“Ask them what they think about it,” Miceli said. “Some kids are kind of oblivious to things that occur so they don’t really know what’s going on and other kids take it in and become vary anxious so to really know what’s going on with your kid you have to ask them.”
She says, often children have trouble distinguishing that what’s happening on television isn’t actually happening where they live. That’s why Miceli says showing kids that they’re safe is important.
“Are they worried that when they go to school or that when they go to the airport to pick someone up who’s coming in to visit, is something bad going to happen? And so to be able to reassure them that know we are safe, and here’s some of the precautions that are taken so that they can feel more reassured,” Miceli said.
Miceli also says parents should be cautious of how they process what’s happened because sometimes their behavior can rub off.
“Parents need to model being calm and handling things appropriately and not becoming overly stressed out about and event that happens,” Miceli said. “But keep the dialogue open, sometimes kids need more time with parents, they need to feel more reassured and for little kids that means hugs and kisses.”
And Miceli says there’s a number of resources to help parents during this tough time. For more information, click on this link.