Health Tip: Talk To Your Kids About a Tragedy

And recognize signs that they may not be coping

(HealthDay News) -- With graphic images of terrorist acts and mass shootings all over the news, it's difficult to keep your children from seeing and hearing about these events.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says parents should explain these tragedies to children in ways they can understand and cope with.

Explain in an age-appropriate way that you are here to protect and support them. Ask them what they've already heard, and ask if they have any questions.

At the same time, avoid exposing your children directly to graphic images and descriptions that appear on TV or on social media.

Some children may find it difficult to cope, and may fear for their lives and the lives of those they love.

The academy says parents should watch for these warning signs of coping issues:

  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or having nightmares.
  • Physical signs, such as feeling tired, having a headache or changes in appetite.
  • Aggressive behavior or separation anxiety.
  • Among older children or teens, use of illicit drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
  • Emotional problems, such as depression or anxiety.

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