Despite your best efforts, it's quite likely that your child will be exposed to news of crime, tragedy, terrorism, and war via the media. Even were you to keep your children at your side every second, it would be difficult to completely seal them off from hearing or seeing footage of such events. So, what can you do when your child spots raw news footage you'd rather they not see? Dr. Marion Bilich, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist, offers this advice:
"You shouldn't feel guilty about what happened. It's inevitable that your child will eventually see pictures or videos of terrorist attacks or war. While you have some control over what she sees in your home, you cannot control everything that she will see. In the weeks and months ahead there are likely to be more disturbing events.
"What is important is that you help your child make sense out of what she has seen. If she's upset, encourage her to express her feelings. Ask her open-ended questions that encourage her to share her feelings and confusion. Say, for example: 'Could you tell me a little about the pictures or videos you saw?' You might also encourage her to make a drawing of what she saw and then talk about the drawing together."
In addition, Dr. Bilich recommends that parents consider reducing their own media consumption to maintain as much control as possible over what children see. Turn instead to radio, newspapers, and Internet sites for your news.
Continued on page 2: Kids, Aged 5-11