The Boston Marathon Tragedy: How you talk to kids

By: Megan Lowry Email
By: Megan Lowry Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WEAU)--As we see and hear more about what happened at the Boston Marathon, experts say it’s important parents and educators are prepared to talk about the tragedy with their kids.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's website says tragic events often leave kids feeling worried and confused. It says the best thing you can do is support them.

"I was on Facebook and saw video and posts (that said) like pray for people in Boston," Eighth Grader Bradley Hayes said.

At Northstar Middle School in Eau Claire, teachers and staff are fielding questions from many students.

"We can't go to school without worrying about being shot at or blown up. We can't go to the movies or to work and now we can't run a marathon," Eighth Grader Willow Stage said.

In a world where tragedies seem to happen more and more often, educators say it's important that adults are ready to talk and listen.

“We are in an era of 24 hour news; kids see it on their Facebook Page and other social media. The best thing to do is remind kids that they are safe and listen to what the kids have to say,” Northstar Middle School Counselor Ken Abel said.

Able added kids will often personalize tragedy, so it's telling them the facts can help them process that they are okay.

“Follow what the students or teens know, answer their questions and address their feelings based on what they know," Able said.

Even the smallest of talks can make a huge difference.

"When we talk about it I know what to do if anything were to happen like that,” said Eighth Grader Wyatt Goetsch.

Abel says kids often take their cues from parents so adults need to make sure we have our emotions in check too. He says one thing that often helps people cope is to participate in a community activity in support of the victims, like a fundraiser or drive.


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