How To Talk To Kids About Crime
Bringing kids into the world comes with a level of responsibility for parents. Not only do we have to talk to them about the challenges of life, but we also have to reveal its darker sides, namely, crime.
Kids’ TV and school don’t usually bring up subjects like these, so it’s up to parents to broach them with their kids. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it’s necessary. After all, kids need to know the truth about the society we inhabit.
In this post, we take a look at how to talk to kids about crime. Here’s what you need to say as a parent.
Tell Them That Your Family Is Safe
If you have young children and something terrible happens, tell them that your family is safe. Make sure that they know they’re protected and that bad things are happening “out there” but not inside the home.
Children under the age of 6 really can’t process crime or other terrible events so it is best to protect them from them. Exposure could lead to trauma and other problems in their lives in the future. If you do have to say anything because they ask, let them know that it’s not worth worrying about. Kids will often just follow your lead.
Wait And See
If your children are a little older, you might want to try the wait-and-see approach. The idea here is to avoid assuming that they’re processing things they’ve seen in any particular way. If something is affecting a child, they will usually come forward and tell you about it soon after. If something is troubling them, there should be obvious signs that there is a problem.
For parents, the trick is to simply wait until whatever trauma is inside expresses itself. If there is an issue, you can provide comfort and offer to take your child to counseling.
For older kids, the best policy is to be honest and direct. Once they get past the age of 8 or so, they begin to have a better understanding of the world. They learn to expect bad things and for things to go wrong.
If they see an ARS 28-662: Hit and Run, just tell them what it is. You don’t have to go into extreme detail, but you should alert them to the risks associated with such crimes. Often, children can handle the truth and process it (though it will make them grow up a little). However, if they appear traumatized, counseling or getting help from the local school is always an option.
Explain The Context
The next step is to explain the context. Kids shouldn’t go away believing that crime is something that happens to them every day. Tell them that most people are trustworthy and law-abiding. Let them know that not all crimes affect them.
If they’ve seen something horrific, work through the emotions with them. Find ways to help your kids distance themselves from the events they’ve witnessed. Make sure that they continue to focus on their regular lives, such as school work, clubs, and hobbies. Try to avoid giving them time to ruminate.
Discuss How The News Portrays Events
You should also cover the topic of media sensationalism with your kids. Point out how news companies regularly hype up stories to make them appear worse than they actually are. Remind them that newscasters have a job and that’s to sell more stories. If they always give people good news, they’ll go out of business.
Get Them Talking
If you have teens who’ve witnessed a crime but aren’t able to process it, try to get them talking about it. Usually, they’ll push back against this idea, but it can help them tremendously.
Avoid lecturing them or telling them your opinions. Instead, just give them an opportunity to say how they feel about something. Keep the conversation light and short. Point out when they are just repeating what the news media is saying so that they can tell the difference between their own thoughts and that of the TV and social media feeds.
Lastly, as an adult, you have enough experience of life to offer your child some hope when crimes happen. Even though they can be devastating, it helps to tell kids that it’s not all bad. They really can go back to their normal lives and continue with them. Bad things are always going to happen, but they rarely keep happening over and over. Life eventually returns to normal.
- Lisa has been blogging since 2013, and loves sharing resources and ideas for living a simple life. To get free printables, bonus words, and more - sign up for the newsletter.