How to discuss terrorism with children

How to discuss terrorism with children

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Images of the Paris terrorists attacks have been all over the television and Internet. It can be difficult to shield kids from the harsh reality of what happened. But a local expert shares advice for parents on how to handle discussions about terrorism with children.

"They may want to ask questions and if they ask questions, you just simply answer their questions. If a child says to you, 'What is a terrorist?' You have to say, 'We used to call it war. It's the same kind of thing. People fight each other for reasons that don't make sense,'" explains Dr. Lolita McDavid, medical director of Child Advocacy and Protection at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

McDavid says children reflect what the parents experience.

"So if the parent is very anxious or spending a lot of time agonizing over this, the child might feel like, 'I'm supposed to be concerned about this, too,'" says McDavid.

McDavid offers these additional tips when speaking to your children about terrorism:

- Stay calm and your child will stay calm
- Minimize the exposure to the violence
- Answer questions simply and honestly
- Don't inject morality
- Let your child know overseas friends are safe

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