As shocking as we adults find news such as this, however, we might take the time to wonder what our kids make of these events. In this day and age, children are becoming savvier in the ways of media and technology, and parents are finding it more and more difficult to shield them from this type of news. Sometimes, it’s even the young ones who bring breaking news to the attention of their parents.
But how much of these stories should we share with our children, and when do we start letting them become aware of the harsh realities of life? Can we protect them from this sort of news at all? Factors include the maturity and age of the children, but parents still have to make judgment calls on what they believe their kids can or can’t handle.
Read on and make note of FN’s 10 tips for discussing current events—especially troubling ones—with your kids:
1. PRACTICE DISCRETION.
Remember that you don’t have to disclose everything. Depending on your child’s age and level of maturity, he or she may not need to know the whole story. You should also screen the images your child will be able to view about the event in question. For example, while aerial photos of the bus from yesterday’s incident may be OK, those of injured parties or even fatalities should be blocked.
2. DISCUSS THE POSITIVE AS WELL AS THE NEGATIVE.
As adults, we always know that good news can be found even in the worst circumstances. Make sure your children know this as well. In the case of the bus explosion, mention the police and other people who helped the victims. Highlight people who are making a difference, who are bringing good things into the world, and not just those who cause chaos.
3. LISTEN TO THEIR OPINIONS AND COMMENTS.
The point of discussing anything is to get feedback. Your children should feel that they are free to talk about their fears and to ask questions. This provides you with the chance to see how much they understand about what’s going on, which, in turn, helps you gauge how much exposure to current events and breaking news they might be able to handle. Children learn from experiencing the world around them, and their knowledge is enhanced by the topics you discuss as a family.
4. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TURTHS, LIES, AND MEDIA HYPE.
A lot of things go into the making of a story. There are details which the public may not be aware of, and the media can sometimes present only certain sides to a situation. In addition to this, reports may be sensationalized in the interest of pushing headlines, and eyewitness accounts may also be tainted by the witnesses’ perceptions or experiences. Teach your child to be aware that not everything they see, hear, or read is accurate, and explain to them why it’s important to look at things from more than just one angle.
[Click here to read more tips.]
(Screencap courtesy of MMDA's TwitPic account)
5. USE CURRENT EVENTS TO HIGHLIGHT HOW YOUR CHILD CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY.
Bad news seems to travel faster than good news, especially these days, so you may find yourself explaining more negative events than positive ones to your kids. Explain to them that we don’t live in a perfect world, but we have the power to make it better by choosing to make the right decisions. You may want to ask your children (especially the older ones) if they have any thoughts about how better decisions could have been made during the unfolding of whatever story you’re discussing. Try and relate this in some small way to your own lives as a family or as individuals, and show how good decisions lead to good results by practicing what you preach in your own life.
6. STAY CURRENT.
Try to be aware of what kind of information your child is taking in through the media, as well as what questions he or she may be faced with and what fears any given incidents may raise. Monitor what sites he or she goes to on the net and what their barkada may be talking about in school. Keep track of breaking news through your mobile device or through the Internet. Kids these days are more advanced in their thinking than we sometimes realize, so if you’re going to stay one step ahead of them, you’ll have to work at it.
7. BE SENSITIVE.
Never laugh at or dismiss your children’s fears, seemingly silly questions, or mistaken assumptions. Always encourage dialogue, and keep an open mind when talking about their concerns. Take the time to explain the way things work and what things are—more than once, if necessary.
8. BE READY TO ANSWER A LOT OF WHYS.
There is a natural instinct to question everything. This is normal and a part of developing good conversation skills. Let your children ask questions, and you might end up learning a thing or two as well. Still, maintain a two-way discussion of current events. Don’t just be ready to answer when your children ask, “Why, Mommy?” Give them the chance to try to come up with possible answers of their own first by occasionally responding with a “Why do you think?” This will help develop your kids’ problem-solving skills and their ability to look at things from alternate angles.
9. DON’T PRETEND TO KNOW EVERYTHING
Your intelligent, cheeky child is likely to come up with a conclusion or comment that you won’t know the “right” answer to. It’s perfectly all right to say that you don’t know. Take this an opportunity to do a little research together, and treat it as a way to teach him the value of investigating and following up on a topic.
Don’t just tell your children what’s what; instead, take every opportunity to listen to and discuss things with your children. Make them feel that their opinions are just as valid as any adult’s. Valuing their opinions will not only make them feel more loved and valued, but it will give them the confidence to know that they can speak up to let their views be heard. Knowing that what they have to say is worth hearing will help them gain a sense of self-respect that will take them through to adulthood.
(Photo by Joris de Vrede via Flickr.com)
Nyx Martinez is an inspirational speaker, travel-TV host, journalist, and mother. She has been a child educator in Southeast Asia and East Africa since 2002. You can learn more about her through her website, www.nyxmartinez.com.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
CONTINUE READING BELOW
Trending on Network