Tackling a tough topic: what should you tell your child about Boston bombings?Posted: Updated:
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The disturbing images of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings are everywhere. You can't escape them -- and chances are, neither can your children. How do you tackle the tough task of talking to them about this tragedy?
It's challenge currently facing, Demi Clark, the Fort Mill, S.C. mom of two, who witnessed the first explosion just feet from the finish line Monday.
"I just a hundred yards earlier crossed over to the right to wave to my family and see my daughters and just a stroke of luck that I was in the right place at the right time," she recalled.
Her daughters, ages 6 and 9, were in the VIP standing cheering their mom on and also watched the horrific scene unfold.
"It's all about [my daughters] this week," said Clark. "And trying to restore order for us."
She says her oldest has a lot of questions.
"My nine year old is very aware and just asking every time -- wouldn't let me out of her sight," she said. "Just asking about you know, 'are we safe?' 'what's that police officer doing? 'Why is he next to us?' 'Did something else happen'?"
The family has already met with a grief counselor and Clark says they'll continue to be as open and honest with their daughters as they can.
That's exactly what children and family psychologist Dr. Jane Robinson says they should be doing.
"Children are very perceptive," she said. "They know a lot more of what's going on than we think they do. We try to protect them when in fact they get more security from knowing some truths, the facts."
Facts that may be tough for parents to talk about -- but are important when trying to explain such a tragedy could happen. Just make sure what you're telling your child is age appropriate, Dr. Robinson pointed out.
"You're gonna talk to a first grader differently, a six or seven year old very differently than you would a 15, 16, 17 year old," she said. "Bad things do happen. It doesn't mean they're going to happen to you -- but they do happen. We're going to talk about it. That's how we get through the bad times, that's how we get through the tough times."
Tough times Clark knows will eventually lead to a healing for everyone.
"We're runners," she said. "We're resilient and we're like you're saying it's a community. We'll rally around this as a global community of runners."
Dr. Robinson suggests also letting your child know they are free to come back if they have any additional questions. She said letting them know they have safe place to discuss emotional, tough topics is key.
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