NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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Helping Children Deal with Stress from News of Terrorism

Sad or scared child


Parents and other adults are critical in helping children deal with the stress of terrorist events in many ways. Four specific ways are by providing an example for children, by creating a supportive environment, by serving as a resource, and by giving guidance and support for managing feelings.

■ Setting an example for children helps them understand how to handle concerns about terrorist events or any other challenge. Highly emotional and overly dramatic responses to news updates may upset children and should be avoided. It is important to be informed, but not to dwell at length on the latest events.

■ In creating a supportive environment for children, it is important to maintain a sense of security, normalcy, and routines in your home and environment.  Turn off the news coverage of terrorist events so that it is not constantly playing in the background.

■ Serving as a resource for your child or children means you express your concern for the people who live in places where terrorist events happen, and reassure your children about their protection and safety.  It means listening to your child as she/he expresses his/her concerns.  It also means being accurately informed so you can answer their questions in ways that are appropriate to their age and maturity level. 

■ Be attentive to your child’s needs when giving guidance and support for managing feelings. Help them overcome fears and maintain a sense of trust and security. 

More information on this topic, as well as specific tips for helping children of different ages deal with stress, is available online at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs635.pdf, or by request from the Sargent County Extension Office.

Source:  Talking to Children About Terrorism, Sean Brotherson, NDSU Extension Family Science Specialist, FS635.

Photo Credit:  https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2013/11/24/11/27/sad-217252_640.jpg  (Downloaded 11-26-15)

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