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Talking to Your Kids About Acts of Violence

Acts of violence can frighten anyone. The events that have recently occurred in Belgium are extremely unnerving and upsetting for both children and parents. It is important for people to seek help and support one another through this challenging time.

“It’s normal to feel grief symptoms even if you don’t have a direct connection with the victim. Tragedies can often trigger us to feel vulnerable, fearful and we have a tendency to lose faith in society,” says Joanne Ginter, Senior Supervisor.

“It is important to remind ourselves that positive things and random acts of kindness occur regularly in our community and throughout the world.”

Here are five tips on how to talk to your kids about the tragic events:

1. Listen to your children. Ask what they have heard about what happened. Let them tell you in their own words and answer any questions they may have. Don’t assume you know what they are feeling or what questions they may have. Be truthful, but use discretion when giving them information depending on their age.

2. Focus on their safety. Be clear that you will keep them safe. Ensure they know the police are working extra hard to ensure the safety of them, their friends and loved ones.

3. Limit media exposure. We all naturally want information and will be drawn to the television or social media. Allow time for yourself and your children to watch the news, but help them to understand there is a time to shut the information down. Some information alleviates anxiety, but too much can be overwhelming.

4. Remind your children of the good. Remind your children that there are far more good people in the world than bad. Let your children know that people pull together during these difficult times. Something like this also brings out the best in human nature as so many people are helping those that are affected and suffering.

5. Seek support. Calgary Counselling Centre is here to help with no waitlist and sliding-scale fees. Register for counselling by calling 403-691-5991 or register online.

Category: Counselling, Education.