‘Kids know more than we think they know’: Youth cope with news events
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Major news events can continue to affect the news cycle for days afterward.
We spoke with experts on how you can talk to your children about troubling televised events.
Hanna Cespedes, a clinical mental health therapist, says children understand what is happening in the world more than we realize.
“Kids know a lot more than we think they know,” said Cespedes. “And they see a lot more than we think they see and they really internalize quite a lot.”
She says parents have a responsibility to love and protect their children. That means having difficult conversations at times.
“Sitting them down and saying, ‘Hey, we’re going through a really hard time in life right now. That doesn’t mean we’re going to give up, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to be okay. We will be okay,’ and just being willing to have the conversations and answer the questions they might have,” Cespedes said.
Adrienne Hurley, the school improvement coordinator for Bibb County, says students have seen many historical events recently. She says teachers find ways to relate recent events like the Capitol riots to historic events.
“Using our district initiatives for building strong citizens and productive citizens, we’ve made sure students understand that it is important to have appropriate civil discourse and have empathy for others and always to be productive,” Hurley said.
Hurley says if students have questions about being afraid, teachers address it in an impartial way. They also make sure to show signs they are safe.
“What you saw on TV occurred there, it was awful to see but look at where you are and you are still safe,” said Hurley. “These institutions that have been built that have been long-standing are still keeping us safe even though there was an event that’s making you feel uncomfortable.”
Help to have difficult conversations with your child
Bibb County offers online resources parents can access if their child has questions about what’s going on. Hurley says you can also reach out to her or your child’s teacher for guidance.
Cespedes said it’s important to practice patience when you are having difficult conversations with your children. If you are struggling with those conversations, you can reach out to a therapist for help.