Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to Talk to Kids About Haiti

Psychotherapist from Gives Advice to CBS for Inspiring Empathy, While Reassuring Kids

We only are posting a small portion of this copyrighted article. Please visit the CBS web site to read the entire article. We recommend donating to the American Red Cross for Haiti relief.

(CBS) It's tough enough for adults to deal with the harrowing images coming out of Haiti. But how do we explain this kind of catastrophe to children?

Psychotherapist Robi Ludwig, an author and contributor to the family website shared with the CBS The Early Show how to talk to your children about Haiti with a healthy sense of empathy, while reassuring them of their safety.

Tragedies, such as the earthquake in Haiti, Ludwig explained, can be used to give your children a sense of empathy, and it can be used to educate them about the circumstances of children from different parts of the world.

"Most children do not have a full sense of what is reality versus what is fantasy," she said. "So the most important thing to keep in mind is supervision. If you are worried about your kids being overexposed, do not let them watch TV alone. If the TV is on, sit with them. If they see graphic images on the news, you will be there in case they have any questions, or if they get frightened. Of course, you won't be able to monitor all of your child's media, not in today's society."

In addition, parents, she said, should also be aware of their computer and Internet, cell phone and iPhone usage.

"If possible, be in the room with them as they use it," she said.

So how do you talk to children of different ages?

If your child is more than six-years of age, Ludwig said it's OK to tell them all about the fact that they were privileged to be born where they are, because so many in the world have so little.

Ludwig suggested talking to your younger child about the fact that we have safer earthquake buildings, how our country is well prepared in case of emergencies, and talk to them about the availability of fresh water and food.

Also, it might be useful, she said, if you have kids of various ages, to use the older ones to help the younger ones.

Parents can also impress on their children the importance of helping others through charitable action.

Please click here to view the entire copyrighted article on CBS News.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to what you would do if it were your child who was starving or dying from lack of clean drinking water. Could you calmly wait for all the "help" to get to you if you or your child needed medication or medical supplies that you couldn't purchase because you either have no money or the stuff is simply not available to be bought? What would you do?
-- Just Curious

Anonymous said...

The children I care for lost relatives in the earthquake including a 5 yr old cousin. We are reading articles on grief and it's very hard on the adults to not be able to bury their loved ones.

Anonymous said...

I think the schools are showing by example to get kids involved in charity. I don't see a need to question younger kids. Older kids should be allowed to talk about it. Turn of tv when on news though. So disturbing.
Maryanne Lynn, Tulsa