Talking with Kids About the News

In our media saturated society, parents often wonder how they should talk with their children about tragedies and frightening world events. For very young children, it is prudent to limit their exposure to violent imagery. We recommend that you refrain from watching the evening news in their presence.
That being said, we can’t always control our children’s environment and they may see images that are disturbing to them when they are away from home.
Here are some helpful tips when speaking with:
1. Young children:
  • Less is more – Give them short explanations, omitting violent details.
  • Ask questions – Try to ask questions about what they saw, and what they think it meant, before offering them a lot of information.
  • Offer reassurance – Let your child know that they are safe and that you will always protect them
2. School age children:
  • Share news and world events selectively with school age kids under 9 years old.
  • Watch the news with your children so that you can discuss it with them.
  • Continue to reinforce the message that they are safe.
3. ‘Tweens and Teens:
  • Allow them to watch the news but still discourage viewing of gratuitous violence.
  • Allow for differences of opinion when discussing current events. Your teen may have a different opinion than you!
  • If they seem troubled by something they have seen, make time to discuss it and answer their questions.
  • Continue to reinforce the message that they are safe.
-Aliza Mendel, LCSW
Licensed Staff Therapist