Explosions pierced the air at Istanbul Ataturk Airport in Turkey as three terrorists armed with bombs and guns killed at least 36 people and at least 147 people were injured.
Violence is all around us. It has become an omnipresent part of our society. We read about violent incidents in the newspaper, we hear instances of violence when we switch on the news; we have discussions relating to these incidents with our parents, neighbours and people we know. Day by day we accustom ourselves to this violent society. But what about young children who are not used to the ways of the world? How can they accustom themselves to this world, where the primal instinct is violence? How can we make them aware of their surroundings without damaging their value system?
Here are some tips to help you talk to your kid about violence and tragedies in the media:
1. Encourage discussions. Encourage your kids to talk about what they hear from their friends in school, their teachers and the people they regularly interact with. Tune into his mind and encourage all possible methods of communication and give weight to his/her opinion. Remember that the key to any successful relation lies within communication. So communicate, spend time talking and make him realise the importance of leading a non-violent life. It is of utmost importance to instil the idea of being loved in the minds of children. Isolation or detachment can lead to depression, anxiety or many other mental illnesses.
2. Limit exposure to violence and make children realise that if any of their favourite actors tried to jump off a train or kill twenty men with their bare hands, they probably wouldn’t be alive today. Paint a realistic picture and explain that violence is bad and shouldn’t be committed. Limiting exposure to violent movies and video games helps as well.
3. Love. Love them. Make them feel loved. The idea isn’t to place restrictions upon a child but to teach them the importance of love and kindness. Inculcate clear and consistent values, so that they understand the concept of goodness, apply it and choose it over violent methods.
4. The most important thing about breaking the news of tragedies and attacks to young kids is that you have to understand their perspective on the problem and acknowledge their opinion for the same. The recent Istanbul attacks have left the world shamed and it is necessary to create awareness amongst the younger kids but in a sensitive manner. Allow the children to feel safe. Let them know that they are in a safe position and we pray and feel for people on whom the misfortune has befallen.
5. Be honest in your conversations. Be watchful for behavioural changes. If you feel that your child is acting differently or is not in a position to accept the situation or is in denial, feels frightened or keep asking for their mum, then it might be time to seek professional help.
This world is not a good place and children are everything if not innocent. It is very important to teach them the right values, inculcate kindness and a sense of goodwill and to make them feel loved.
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