The 14-year anniversary of the September 11 national tragedy will no doubt spark continued conversation about the horrific events of the day. As a parent, you may be faced with answering some tough questions from your children. To help navigate these conversations, here is some information from the National Association of School Psychologists.
Acknowledge your child’s feelings. If your child seems fearful or sad, let them know you understand how they feel, while reassuring them that actions are still being taken to maintain their safety and wellbeing. Instill a sense of control in the face of tragedy by encouraging your child to participate in volunteer activities such as writing letters or designing cards for the troops.
Share the facts in an age appropriate manner. Make sure you’re informed on the issues surrounding our nation’s current actions against terrorism so that you can answer your child’s questions honestly without speculating. Giving yourself time to absorb this information before discussing it with your child will better equip you to present the information in a manner appropriate for your child.
Monitor your child’s media consumption. Although it’s important for children to know about the tragic events of 9/11, it’s also important to ensure that your child doesn’t become overly bombarded with media on the event. If you find that your child’s overconsumption of media is negatively affecting them, re-direct them to other activities. It’s important that adult concerns of war and tragedy don’t overwhelm the innocence of childhood.
To further guide a 9/11 conversation with your child, visit 911memorial.org.