How to talk to children about Terrorism
The Manchester attack, a very touchy and delicate subject that unfortunately, in this day and age we all need to discuss at some point.
It is apparent to all that horrific events, such as the recent Manchester attack last Monday 22nd May, are becoming more frequent and despite us trying to shelter our children from the news, it is imperative that we discuss it openly with them.
Let’s face it, children ask questions, a lot of questions, and when something as horrific as the Manchester attack happens, children will pick up on our emotions and start asking questions.
This topic is by far one of the hardest to discuss and that’s why we have compiled our seven top tips on how to breach the subject with children no matter what age.
1. Be the first to tell them
First of all, it is better for you to tell your children first rather than it coming from Chinese whispers which in turn, can lead to issues and misunderstandings later down the line. You may feel by avoiding the subject that you are protecting them, wrong. Children will find out one way or another, especially today with the likes of Social Media consuming everything we do. What we see on Social media can be twisted accounts and therefore it is more beneficial, despite how difficult for you, to approach the subject as soon as possible before Facebook does!
This one is extremely important. Educate your children on the difference between terrorists and religion, Social Media and the news, what to do in a terrorist situation, how to be vigilant and to have faith in our emergency services to protect us. It is imperative that children are educated on these aspects from a young age. There is a great video and easy to follow instructions here.
Let’s face it, we don’t live in the land of the Unicorns and as awful as it is to admit, this beautiful planet we live on is becoming unsafer by the day. Honesty truly is the best policy and as a great friend of mine and the founder of My Happy Mind fantastically put it to her two children (8 & 3) –
“Sometimes really bad things happen in life, but there will always be more goodies than baddies. We are goodies, we will always be goodies.”
Allow your children to ask as many questions as they like. It is difficult enough for us to get our heads around horrific events like this so imagine how difficult it is for children to process. Allowing them to talk about it and discuss openly will help them deal with things more confidently in the future. There is nothing worse for children than feeling like they can’t express their emotions. Have a little cry together too, crying is healthy.
“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; This is the eternal rule.” – Buddha
Show your children, family and friends more love and affection than you have ever done before. There is nothing that cannot be solved with something as simple as a hug and a cup of tea. Now is the time to love harder than you’ve ever done and let’s be honest, everyone loves love!
Teach your children to live their lives to the full! What’s the point of locking yourself away and avoiding life? If we do this we are letting them win. Teach them to be free and not afraid, to live and love, and most of all to be happy.
7. Switch off
Do something fun with your family. Put the phones away, turn the news off, stop reading the papers and go and have some fun. As the old saying goes – ‘If I don’t laugh I’ll cry’ Do exactly that and let your children see that terrorists will never win!
Love you all