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How To Help Your Children Deal With Disturbing News Reports

by | Parenting

Oct 25, 2020

We always read and see a lot of tragic news on social media, newspapers, the internet, and television. Many of this news is awful, primarily because of the current events taking place in the world today. These range from the coronavirus pandemic news, wars in different parts of the world, earthquakes, and so many others. This article outlines different ways you can help your children deal with disturbing news reports.

The list of problems happening in the world today is endless. When our children see or read this news, they will be most likely be affected by them, and this could cause them so much stress, feelings of anxiety, fatigue, or even sleep loss as a result of what goes on in the world.

How children may be affected by the news

1. Shocked and upset by the tragedies they see.

Some kids might not openly express how they feel from what they see or read, but a shocking news report may trouble them deeply. These main heighten their anxiety also, especially if their parents are unduly anxious.

2. Misunderstand what they see on the news.

Many may be afraid that what they see on the news can also happen to their family. This will make them very disturbed and fearful of what might happen next.

Kids may think that a disturbing event repeatedly occurs because the same video footage is being played frequently on social media and television. That will instill fear in their mind.

3. Have difficulty putting the news in perspective

Unlike adults, children may not discern that news companies profit from having a broad audience. Also, the more shocking they make this news appear on social media or television, the more views or readers they are likely to get, and the more money they make.

Therefore, these news agencies present their report in a sensational way or as shocking as possible for viewers. These enable them to be able to keep the attention of anxious viewers.

Below are ways you can help your children deal with disturbing news reports.

8 ways to help your children deal with Disturbing News

1. Limit their exposure to shocking or tragic news

Based on your children’s age, maturity, and emotional makeup, consider setting limits on the amount of exposure they have to watch the news. This doesn’t mean you should restrict your children from watching the news or be oblivious of the tragic events happening globally.

But it would be best to reduce their screen time to tragic or shocking stories. Even little children may see or hear more than you may realize.

It will cause them much stress and anxiety when they see the same tragic news report repeatedly within a limited time. Always be alert to any hints of fear or worry that your children may show.

2. Stop discussing in detail a tragic news report in their presence.

We want to remember that our children listen to what we say and watch our reactions to things happening.

Sometimes we may add to our children’s anxiety by talking about shocking events in their presence and not realizing how overwhelming it is for them to get this information. Avoid talking about a tragic news report in their presence.

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3. Always listen patiently, respond empathetically

If it is hard for your kid to talk about an event they read or see on the news, suggest that he or she draw a picture of it instead. Address your child’s concerns using simple terms he or she will understand.

However, it would be best to avoid discussing unnecessary details about the event. They feel safe and better after you sit and listen to them. Avoid telling them that this is how things are, and they should get used to it.

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4. Help your child put news reports in perspective

As of the 25th of October, 2020, over 1 million people have died due to coronavirus. The news agencies may over exaggerate the report, thereby causing more fear and anxiety to people.

Explain to your children what steps you have taken to keep them safe. It would also be best to remember what makes a tragedy newsworthy is not because of its popularity but because it is rare.

5. Help your child through their emotions.

Keep in mind that emotions usually follow thoughts. (1) Help your children focus on something positive and not the negativity happening around the world.

You could tell them about the good news happening also. This will make them realize that there are still good things, and they won’t lose hope.

6. Use the news information to educate them

Watch the news together as a family as your children get older. It would also be good to use the information as an opportunity to teach them.

While you teach them, highlight the news report’s positive aspects, such as the preventive measures taken to help people involved in the situation or subside the problem.

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7. Reassure them at all times

Discuss with your kids to find out how they feel about what happened whenever a disturbing event is reported in the news. Also, reassure them of the precaution you have taken to avoid a similar tragedy.

For example, a kid may see shocking footage in a news report of how a house burned down to the ground.

In this situation, you can show him the measures you have put in place to avoid the same tragedy, show him the smoke alarms in the house, and explain how they function. This will go a long way to give him the needed comfort and help him feel safe and secure.

Also, your children may hear something from a classmate, at school, or on the news. They may come to you and ask you questions about it.

Try to answer them as best you can, and reassure them that you will do everything you can to keep them safe.

8. Pay attention to your language

If you are anxious, you may find yourself continually reminding your children to be careful. This phrase is too non-specific and usually too repetitive to be beneficial for your child’s development. It would be best instead to help your children learn to pay attention to safety and danger signs.

Bottom Line

Make it a priority to help your children deal with disturbing news reports so that they can always feel safe. This you can do by limiting their exposure to media broadcasts. Too much exposure to news reports only intensifies fears.

By Aleksandra Nico

Dr. Aleksandra Nico is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is in private practice in Brunswick and has experience in a wide variety of areas, including mood-related difficulties, anxiety, psychosis, trauma, addictions, personality disorders, and anger management. Dr. Nico completed a Ph.D. at the University of Nevada. Her goal is not to make very good people out of good, but to get the unique out of them.

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