As caregivers, it can be hard to know how to navigate difficult conversations about tragic events in the news with the children in our lives– especially as we struggle to make sense of things ourselves. Here are a variety of resources to help guide tough conversations at home.
General Guidelines for tough conversations:
From PBS Parents “Talking With Children About News.”
Tragic events in the news: Tragedy calls us to remind our children that they are safe and not alone; remember to make space for questions and talking together.
- From The National Child Traumatic Stress Network | Talking to Children About the Shooting
- U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES | Tips_Talking_to_Children_After_Disaster
- National Association of School Psychologists | Talking_To_Children_About_Violence
- Trauma Response Resources for Families and Congregations from the UUA (Books titles, articles, etc.)
“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.” — Mister Rogers
Talking to Kids About Social Injustice and Discrimination: Chicago Children’s Museum | Excerpt: “Nobody’s perfect. We all have our own biases, and children hear what we say and take it all in. Avoid speaking in generalizations about other people and question others when they do so. If you do speak unfairly about a person or group, openly acknowledge the mistake.”
Youth writing on big questions: Kidspirit Online | Excerpt: “We walk with it./Dignity./All the walls crumble to the ground/And we are not afraid.”
Talking to Kids About Injustice: Electricity Magazine | Excerpt: “The conventional wisdom is to let children lead: wait until they ask, and offer only the minimal information necessary. … For many marginalized families, there is less choice. As queers, we have had to talk to our children about our differences and vulnerabilities as a family. Most straight parents have not had to discuss homophobia with their children, which means there are few allies for my children when slurs and heterosexist assumptions arise.” More HERE
Talking about safety in communities: Jacob Wetterling Foundation website is full of information, including tips on how to have age-appropriate conversations about appropriate touch, setting the tone for talking about scary news, and tips for personal safety in communities, including communities of faith. Please feel free to reach out with questions about our safety practices at WBUUC.
Thinking about Death and Dying:
- Kid Spirit Online has reflections on big questions written by kids.
- From the UUA website; a general statement about what UUs believe about death:
- From the Riddle and Mystery Curriculum, ideas about the afterlife from world religions.
- The Dougy Center: Grief Resources for Children
- From the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center: Talking to Children About Death
- While many picture books are geared toward younger children, I often recommend them for older children and adults, too.
Looking for more resources? Let us know what you’d like us to add. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Peterson Derrick, Director of Religious Education
Jill Schwendeman, Director of Youth Programs