The NSPCC report record number of calls about terrorism.
The Times and the NSPCC joined forces to release a video to help parents talk to their children about terrorism. This was prompted by over 370 young people contacting Childline to discuss their concerns following the Paris attacks in November 2015.
You can see the video at: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/nspcc/
This video has however stirred up some debate regarding how much or how little we should expose our children to with regards to terrorism. Should our children watch the news showing these distressing images? Should we tell them all the facts about what’s happening? Do we broach the topic if they don’t seem to be aware?
Terrorist attacks are something that as adults we find it difficult to comprehend, they challenge our values, beliefs and experience, so how can we expect our children to understand why these things happen?
I was invited to speak on BBC Radio Berkshire to discuss this topic and to give my opinion on the video. Here’s a little around what I said…
Firstly, I think the NSPCC have done a good job of broaching a difficult subject, their primary advice is to:
Listen – Find out what your children do know and what’s worrying them, then you can tackle these worries directly. They may have been given misinformation by school friends that you want to deal with as early as possible.
Ask questions – Find out what their view is, what they have learned about it from school or friends and what they think about it.
Be honest – Answer their questions and concerns as honestly as possible. If you don’t know yourself, tell them you don’t know. You may choose to research this together to find out or your child may be content that this is an unknown.
Reassure – Provide them with as much reassurance as possible that they are safe and there are many people working together to stop these kinds of incidents from happening.
In addition to this advice I am offering the following 3 tips.
Perspective – remind them that their day to day life is not one that’s in danger. As upsetting as these events are, they aren’t happening every day and they can continue to carry out their normal activities without worry.
Emotions – Check in with how they feel about the event. Does it make them feel sad, confused, scared or angry? Discuss with them how you feel too and why you feel that way. Talking about this will help them to understand whatever they feel is okay and perfectly normal.
Compare – Talk about this in terms of things they will understand. For example all schools discuss and put procedures in place for anti-bullying. You child will understand the concept of bullying and how it can make others feel. Use this as a basis for your discussion.
The key thing to remember is not to ignore it. If you’re not discussing it with your child there’s a high probability that someone else is, their teachers, friends or friends parents’. They may hear information from others who don’t hold the same values or beliefs as those you want to teach your children. Use the information above to plan how you can help address the fears, questions and emotions of your children.
For more information about dealing with Anxiety, Bullying or building confidence in your children contact me at Debbie@confidencebuilderclub.comTags: explaining terrorism to children, terrorism