Hard Conversations about Current Events

Sometimes parents are uncertain about how to address current events, especially violent current events, with their children. We wanted to give some resources to help anyone looking for a way to do so. Obviously, as parents, we have an advantage over teachers in this situation. We know our children well, and we are working with a smaller population. Hopefully some of these resources will be a help to anyone looking for ways to speak with their children about tough current events.

This short video is aimed at teachers in the classroom, so it isn’t completely applicable for parents. However, there are some key messages that are important.

  • Kids need to be heard and know they are heard. We need to listen to what our children are saying and feeling.
  • You don’t have to know all of the answers. It’s okay not to know all of the answers, and it is okay to admit to your children that we don’t yet know all of the answers.
  • There are going to be hard events in life. While we want to be honest with our kids about what is going on, we also want to give them hope. Point out the people who are helping and working to make situations better.

The American School Counselor Association has an article, Helping Students in Troubling Times, to help teachers address current events with children. While some of these suggestions are for group setting such as schools, much of the information is applicable to all adults helping children.

Teaching Tolerance has an article addressing how To Sustain the Tough Conversations, Active Listening Must Be the Norm. Listening to our children and helping them learn effective communication skills is paramount when dealing with tough situations.

Asking Questions As News Unfolds – Sometimes having a script of questions can help us walk children through situations which we find difficult. This document also has a page you can print out for use when watching or discussing news.

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