The recent disturbing events in Charlottesville, Virginia, are being displayed on news outlets across the country on all platforms. No matter how hard you try, its likely your child will either see them first hand or hear about it from a friend.
On a Skype call during a flight layover on his way to offer help in Charlottesville, clinical psychologist Andrew Mendonsa of Sacramento explained some of the issues effecting folks in Virginia.
“I think it’s pretty difficult. I think people are really torn,” Mendonsa said. “I don’t think they’re used to seeing this kind of behavior from all the different sides and I think it’s a wakeup call for a lot of folks that things we thought were kind of over and done with, is still very much in the fabric of many communities and many societies.”
HOW TO SPEAK WITH YOUR CHILDREN WHEN A NATIONAL TRAGEDY STRIKES
The biggest message to get across for children is that others may have a different point of view but that doesn’t mean it should reach the point of violence. What happened in Virginia this weekend is two polar opposite groups of demonstrators that reached a hostile tipping point.
“The number one thing you can do for kids is to remind them you know look, we can have a disagreement, we can talk about it, we can find a solution. In a civil, you know non-violent way,” Mendonsa said.
ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS HONESTLY
Communicate with your child. You should answer their questions honestly. Ask what your children may be hearing, feeling, and what their friends are talking about.
Mendonsa said to bring truth and understanding to what they are saying. You may also bring other concepts or ideas in from teachers, other family members, or other areas to better educated your children. It’s important to correct the misinformation.
LAY OUT YOUR FAMILY VALUES
A stark difference of opinions lead to the clash between groups in Virginia this weekend. Explain what values your family has and what they stand for.
“The biggest thing to you know remind kids about is that everyone grows up a little bit differently,” Mendonsa said. “We all have different backgrounds and we’re all raised a different way, we’re all brought up with different values.
Solidify your family values and discuss how they may be different than others. This can teach them how others may similar, different, good and not so good.
BALANCE MEDIA BUT DON’T SHELTER THEM
When the Sept. 11 attacks happened, images were displayed over and over again. Mendonsa said to balance the bad with the good. Don’t have the television running 24/7 with those images, but don’t completely remove them from your household either.
Have some wholesome family media on as well. But, stray from sheltering your children which can lead to them drawing their own conclusions that are not accurate.
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