How World News Can Cause Anxiety For Children

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by Patrice on April 8, 2011 · 0 comments

in (5-9 years)

Unsettling world news can make the single mom agitated, at the very least. Imagine what a child is thinking as they see the same explosion, earthquake or tsunami footage played over and over again on the TV as mom leaves the 24 hour cable news on to catch any updates as they may happen.

If your child comes to you with questions about tragic events, consider yourself lucky. You can address his fears and anxiety in a positive way and take it as a sign that perhaps the channel should be changed.

If you know that your child has seen the graphic images on the TV but hasn’t discussed it with you, look for signs that he may be keeping his fears or questions to himself. The child may be getting information on the playground, or his imagination may be bringing the catastrophe closer to home, and for some reason he is reluctant to bring his fears into the open.

Kids from 5 to 9 years of age can easily pick up the fact that a major event has happened, but unless they are able to understand the implications, they have no way of knowing if it is a threat to themselves and their loved ones. If the adults are upset by the unfolding news reports, the child may also become anxious.

We all want our kids to feel secure in the innocence of childhood, but that can’t always happen. We have to remember that all kids respond to traumatic events in different ways. The event doesn’t have to be witnessed first hand for the child to develop an anxiety.

If the television is showing graphic images, you may want to consider turning it off or changing the channel. The images in magazines and newspapers are better visuals for the child. Perhaps you can capture a still photograph on the internet if your child is demanding information about the event.

Let the child know that you are monitoring the events and that the family is safe.  In this way you are letting him understand that you feel that his concerns are justified, but that there is nothing to fear. If the child’s attention cannot be diverted from the world event, try to redirect attention to a positive involvement.  Letters can be written to children in the area. A care package can be prepared. Even a picture to send along with any donations can help the child feel that he is doing something to help.

Watch out for any signs that the event is causing anxiety in your child. Any changes in behavior should be discussed with a professional.

About Patrice

Patrice Campbell is a freelance writer working from the Denver area. Campbell started her writing career in the 1980’s, working for several Wisconsin local papers as a news, human interest and features writer, as well as a photographer.

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