Following the Manchester terror attack last night (Monday May 22), parents are being urged to discuss the incident with their Children.
22 people were killed and 59 injured following a suicide bomb blast after a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.
Advice from Winston's Wish was issued following the London terrorism attack two months ago, which can be used as guidance after the Manchester attack.
The charity says endless news and media coverage, as well as information from peers, means it is impossible to hide the atrocity from youngsters.
Instead, it recommends discussing events in a way they can understand and allow and encourage them to ask questions.
To help, the charity for bereaved children has compiled a list of tips advising parents on the best way to approach the subject.
They recommend that you shouldn’t keep the television or radio off in an attempt to protect your kids from the news.
“This story is upsetting for children because they can imagine something like this happening to them or someone close to them," it says.
“However, because other children will have heard the news, it is better for your children to have the opportunity to ask questions and receive reassurance from people they trust.”
The charity also points out that the next few days might be more difficult as images of people grieving will be shown on the television, which can be upsetting for children and might trigger more questions.
How to tell them?
The charity advises: “The explanation can be basic, especially for young children – something like:
'All this news is because something very bad and very sad happened in Manchester.
'What seems to have happened is that someone attacked other people outside a concert in Manchester Arena.
'It is very unusual that something like this happens. This is one of the reasons why it is on the news and lots of people are talking about it; it is also because it is very upsetting that something like this could happen.
'Everyone who has heard the news is very sad and worried.’”
What to say about the terrorist?
“It’s really hard to be calm about something this terrible. But, if you find it possible, try and distinguish between bad acts and bad people,” Winston’s Wish advises.
“Children find the idea of bad people particularly frightening. Children are also very fair-minded and will want reassurance that the person who did this has been caught by the police and will be punished.
“Older children will appreciate more details and the opportunity to explore why people do such desperately terrible things and the way the family are feeling.
“This can be an opportunity to help young people develop their empathy and reflect on the value of life and relationships.”
Things to remember
- Talk to children using words they understand; give information to younger children a bit at a time.
- Try and encourage children to ask questions.
- Answer questions honestly and simply; talking about it won’t make it worse.
- Accept that some things can’t be "made better".
- Show willingness to talk about difficult things and use this as an opportunity to reassure them.
- If children are asking questions, it is a good thing – it shows they trust you and it is better than keeping questions and worries to themselves.
- Remember that "super parents" or "super teachers" don’t exist. Just do and say what you can.
- Don’t be afraid to show children how you are feeling.
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