What do you say to your elementary-school-aged children about the mass slaughter of children at an elementary school? I put this question to Dr. Alan E. Kazdin, director of the Yale Parenting Center. He said there are two main principles to keep in mind: comfort and information. People should be ready to respond honestly to their children’s question, but at the level they are asked and with the minimum of detail necessary.
If your child has managed to remain oblivious to this horror and has not brought it up, then Kazdin advises that you should not either. You can help keep your child blessedly in the dark by limiting exposure to media coverage. He said after 9/11, child psychologists coined a new term, “secondary terrorism,” for the destabilizing experience many young children went through after being exposed to the attacks on an endless television loop.
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