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How Do You Talk to Your Kids About Scary News?

Friday's mass shooting in Connecticut and the media coverage of that incident will likely remind parents that sometimes kids are exposed to violent and tragic news.

Friday night, many dinner table conversations around the United States will likely be dominated by the .

But what if the ones asking questions about the violence are the people at the table whose feet barely reach the floor, and who will be off at an elementary school of their own come Monday morning?

The world is a complex place, but parents can take measures to reassure kids who have questions about violent or scary events in the news.

Parents should start by finding out what their kids know and ask questions to gauge their feelings about the news, according to PBS and Parenting Magazine.

Both publications also suggest parents should keep their discussions about scary news simple.

"Give children the information they need to know in a way that makes sense to them," PBS writes on its parenting site. "At times, a few sentences are enough."

Parents should also offer reassurance and use scary news as an experience to teach, PBS and Parenting Magazine report.

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What do you think? If you have young kids, how do you handle the topic of tragic, violent or scary news? Share your strategies in the comments section below.

david carlton December 15, 2012 at 03:15 AM
First my family's thoughts and condolences are with the family's who have been affected. I think let the kids bring it to you. I left the tv off the news. I don't believe there needs to be a big discussion about it. I have school age kids, so having to deal with this fort he first time in my life can be difficult. I do think you will see a sign, that maybe something is bothering them. At this age it will probably pass. So be careful not to expose to much of the crime to them. They will figure out and how to feel by them selves. They know they have you to fall back on. Believe in your kids opinions.
Brad December 15, 2012 at 09:20 PM
I'd honestly rather have the discussion with their parents, even if their feet can't touch the ground. Can we, as a nation, finally begin the long overdue discussion about compulsatory education in this country? I've been saying it for decades now! It is simply wrong that the government forces parents to send their children to places that are, and have been for a very long time, simply UNSAFE! Aside from the growing trend of mass shootings at schools (this is just the most recent and horrifying), there are literally thousands and thousands of reports of violence at schools in this country every day! These places are poorly equipped to deal with even the simplest types of violence, let alone the frightening reality we just got hit with ... again. I realize that older generations may remember school as some kind of amazing nostalgic wonderland of merriment, but those times are long GONE. These places are violent, bureaucratic, ineffective, underfunded, understaffed, infested with narcotics and sexual assaults (sometimes by staff), and are becoming little more than gladiatorial arenas where people learn to fear and hate each other - a lesson that they will keep throughout their entire lives. And to top it off, we force people to endure it during their most important developing years! To expect this country and/or state to continue shelling out tax dollars for something that requires increasing levels of security (which we cannot afford), is absurd and profoundly stupid.
Brad December 15, 2012 at 09:24 PM
We need an alternative, this current system DOES NOT WORK any longer, and hasn't for some time. Aside from being terrifyingly unsafe, they don't even accomplish the goals it is designed for. Your children are not smarter because they go to school under this broken system, they are not becoming more intellectually competitive; they are barely even learning the basic math and language skills. Sciences and art are not even being taught in many schools nowadays, and vital skills like critical thinking and self-reliance are non-existent. Please! Let's stop this foolish course of action. It isn't working. At the very least, let's stop forcing children to endure this twelve+ year nightmare. Do you really believe that this latest tragedy is going to be the last one? This system is broken! Stop clinging to it. 80+ years of this garbage clearly shows that it doesn't work in the modern world. For the sake of your children and the future of this country (which they represent), we need to change it, completely. I know it's not easy to let go of any failed institution, but it is long past due.
Brad December 17, 2012 at 04:03 PM
If you agree, or at the very least would like to help open a national debate concerning what is written above instead of arguing gun control or mental health (neither of which I feel will have any effect) and instead want to look at alternatives to help protect our children, there is a "We The People" petition available for you to sign here: http://wh.gov/RuQR I don't know how effective this Whitehouse.gov program is, but please consider signing it, and share it with as many people as you can. Thanks.

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