kids-doctorKids’ doctors’ advice on explaining the inexplicable

If you haven’t already, you’re probably going to have to talk to your children about mass shootings, and kids’ doctors have some advice on how to do this terribly painful task.There may not be any way to avoid the subject — if one shooting doesn’t catch their attention, the next one will. Kids’ doctors with the American Psychiatric Association and the American Family of Pediatrics recommends that children under eight not hear about the subject at all, but these days that may be impossible. Keep children this age from watching the news, if you can.

Before you try to tackle the subject (or, more likely, your child brings it up himself or herself) you need to be sure you’ve dealt with your own feelings about it. Children can tell when adults are anxious. You should also make sure that your children have the opportunity to talk with you, face to face, at length. Dinner is a good time for this.

Even if your children don’t seem to be aware of what’s happening in the world, keep your eyes open. Children in Gastonia, NC who are too young to talk with much coherence about what frightens them will sometimes express their fears through drawings or play. Older children may show signs of anxiety, such as sleeplessness, stomachaches and worse performance in school.

If they want to talk

Kids’ doctors recommend you keep things simple. Don’t try to lie, but keep the explanation short, especially with younger children. Pare it down to one sentence if possible.

Kids’ doctors also recommend you not treat a child being upset as something that needs to be cured. Children have a right to be upset over upsetting things. Make sure your child knows that you and everyone else are doing what you can to keep him or her safe. As Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

A kids’ doctor in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a kids doctor conveniently located west of Charlotte.It is one of the first medical practices for children in the Gastonia area, has served three generations of families with personalized care and offers medical advice for parents 24 hours a day. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. Gastonia Pediatrics is owned and directed by its own physicians. If you need a kids doctor, call today.