Expert weighs in on talking to children about national tragedies

Boston explosions

(MGN Online)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, April 19, 2013

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- In the wake of the tragedy in Boston, parents across the country are struggling with what to say to their kids.

"I try not to tell her too much because I don't want her worrying and I don't want her being fearful or going to school and being scared," said Kimberly Mays.

Mays and her 12-year-old daughter, Kaylee, are prepping for a sleepover with Kaylee's best friend.

A night of fun Mays is grateful for after such a difficult week.

"It just seems like more and more every day I'm having to tell her more and more stories or shelter her from more and more stories on the news," Mays said.

Three people were killed and more than 170 were injured at the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday, and the entire country has been watching the investigation unfold.

"It's been tough because it seems like the world's getting worse instead of getting better," Mays said.

"I don't wanna go to school because I don't want them to go to school and bomb us," her daughter said.

Now, with the nation rocked by Boston's tragedy, Mays just wants to know how best help her child through it all.

"When something like this happens, even though we're not in the Boston metro area, it's normal for everyone to feel a little bit shaken, a little bit scared," explained Child Psychologist Dr. Dale Peeples with Georgia Regents University. "Could something like this happen to me? And children experience that just like adults."

Peeples says reassurance is key.

"Reminding children that we are safe. Saying, 'It's OK to be afraid.' That's important," Peeples said.

And with the investigation on every almost every channel, Peeples says it's okay to shield children from the television.

"Try to keep the routine as normalized as possible," Peeples said. "Life keeps going on ... we're all going about our business."

Exactly what Mays intends to do for her daughter.

"We keep God first," Mays said. "No matter what's going on in the world, we keep God first."


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