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Speaking To Children About Bombings At Boston Marathon

CICELY MITCHELL, CBS Houston
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(Photo Credit: Rob Melnychuk)

(Photo Credit: Rob Melnychuk)

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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) The bombings at the Boston Marathon for many of us are marked with disbelief, confusion and anger.

As adults, we absorb a multitude of feelings, but when it comes to talking to our children about the bombings, what do we say and where do we begin to offer an explanation to help them better understand?

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry , when it comes to speaking to children about terrorism, war and other tumultuous world events, it is important to speak with children so that they feel more secure, stable and comforted.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers the following suggestions when speaking to children about tragedy:

1. Instead of forcing children to talk about tragic events, create a nurturing space as well as time in which you sit down and share with them what has happened. One should not force a child to speak when that child does not wish to do so.

2. In tragic events, children tend to personalize situations. For example, they may worry about immediate friends and or even family in which the tragic event took place.

3. Allow children to express themselves. For many younger children, a drawing or a painting may be an expressive form that is used. Other children may write a story or a poem to convey what it is they feel after a tragedy has occurred.

4. Answer a child’s questions with age appropriate and honest answers.

5. Assure children that despite the tragic events, things are OK. Try not to make lofty promises or provide over-the-top explanations of the day’s events.

For more tips on how to speak with children about terrorism or war events, click here.

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