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How to Talk to Your Kids about the Paris Attacks and Other Hard Stuff

Artist Jean Jullien's powerful rendition of the Peace Symbol Artist Jean Jullien's powerful rendition of the Peace Symbol

Parenting is a tough job, made even harder when bad things happen and we have as many questions as our kids do (if not more). Like you, Team CertifiKid has been reeling with the news of the attacks in Paris, as well as Beirut last week. We too are struggling with how to talk to our kids about what happened and what it means.

No parent is given a manual on day one that tells us how to handle every situation, though that certainly sounds like something we could all use. In the absence of an instruction book, we can look to experts for guidance. We've put together a short list of online resources and information that might help.

has a great resource that applies to helping your kids when bad things happen called, How to Help Kids Feel Safe. "Pay Extra Attention to Your Kids. When you are at home with your children, make sure to be engaged with them. The National Association of School Psychologists recommends that parents focus on their children during the week following a tragedy, including spending some extra time reading or playing with kids before bed, to foster a sense of closeness and security."

Susan Stiffelman
- Family Therapist, author, and Huffington Post contributor provides suggestions for talking to both kids and teens. "Limit exposure to media. Although you may find yourself drawn to the television for news updates, children have thin filters and are easily traumatized by dramatic images and interviews. Keep young children away from broadcasts about the event. With teens who are keen to stay up to date on what's going on, sit with them to talk, answer questions, and/or join them in feeling sorrow, fear, or outrage."

Time Magazine
ran an article that included this quote and additional information: “Don’t delay telling your children,” says Harold Koplewicz, President of the Child Mind Institute. “It’s very likely that your child will hear about what happened, and it’s best that it comes from you so that you are able to answer any questions, convey the facts, and set the emotional tone.”

Have you found resources that have been especially helpful in talking with your kids? Please share. CertifiKid is a community of families, here for each other when times are good and when things are hard. We stand with Paris and with each of you.

(photo credit: Artist Jean Jullien)


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