Talking to Children About Violence

Talking to Children About Violence
Posted on 11/08/2017
Article by Dr. Sarah Wiersma

After all the recent tragedies in the news, it’s important for parents to know the best way to discuss violence with their children. Many children can tell that something is upsetting the adults in their lives and school age children may have seen something from the media or heard about events from friends.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that adults filter information about a crisis and present it in a way that a child can manage. A good way to start the conversation is to ask what they’ve heard and what questions they have. Keeping the discussion straightforward and direct while sparing the graphic details is best. Also, try to keep children away from graphic imagery and sound clips displayed by various media sources. With older children, you may want to preview the news program ahead of time and then watch it together with them.

A great message to share with kids comes from Fred Rogers: “You will always find people who are helping. To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

Watch for signs that a child isn’t coping well with the tragedy:
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
- Physical symptoms like headaches  or tummy pain
- Behavior changes like regression in younger kids or partaking in high risk activities in teens
- Signs of anxiety or depression

North Scottsdale Pediatrics

  • Ironwood Office - 9827 N. 95th St. Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 Phone: (480) 860-8488 Fax: (480) 860-8498
  • Deer Valley Office - 21807 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85255 Phone: (480) 860-8488 Fax: (480) 860-8498

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