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The environment is very volatile and we are being bombarded with news about terrorism, attacks, surgical strikes and what not. Whether or not you watch news with your child present in the same room, she will pick up on the news and all these terms. And she will most likely turn to you with all her questions. How do you explain to your child what terrorism is and why nations launch henious attacks. Even for an adult, such a scenario is terrifying, so it is undoubtedly a tough task to make a child understand and assure her that she will be safe.
If your child has come to you with such questions and you are clueless about what to tell her, here's some expert help from Dr Shachi Dalvi, child psychologist. "It is common and also healthy for a child to approach her parents with her questions and concerns about terrorism. First of all, you should avoid watching news related to terrorism around your child. However, TV news is not the only source from where she can come across terrorism. Kids discuss such things in school and also there's social media. As a parent, it is your job to give the child correct information and also make her feel safe," Says Dr Shachi. Here are a few questions your child may ask and how to answer. The key is to be honest and accurate with your information, without scaring the child.
What is a terrorist?
A terrorist is a bad person who does not understand that it is wrong to cause hurt and pain. Think of it like this -- when things do not go your way or when you are upset with something, it is natural to feel angry. Now the key is to control and manage your anger without causing unnecessary hurt or pain to yourself and others. Terrorists are people who do not understand this.
What is terrorism?
Terrorism is the act of terrorists. It is when people get angry and do not know how to control it. Also, when people start believing in wrong things and try to force everybody to work their way, they resort to wrong means like attacking, shooting and causing harm to other people. There are people who deal with terrorism and work to make the world safe.
Am I safe?
Yes, you are safe and I will ensure that. There are people who work towards keeping us safe from terrorists. There's the defence forces, the police and your parents to keep you secure. It is okay to be scared, and all this news concerns me too. But you need to understand that I will never let anything harm you. You can also help us in being safe. Do not touch anything lying around, do not approach strangers. If you see a person who looks suspicious, report it to me. Whenever you have any questions and concerns, speak to me.
What can I do to be safe?
There's a lot you can do! Speak to me freely if anything scares or troubles you. Do not discuss it with your friends, this is not something little kids should be focussing on. Do not believe in what your friends say. If you are concerned about anything, speak to me or your teachers. Most importantly, do not take it lightly or say lies about it just to skip a class. Focus on your studies and hobbies.
Other things you should discuss with your child is that they should avoid clicking selfies with military personnel or posts or measures taken for security. Also, too much information about anything kind of desensitises children. So do not overdose your child with news and information. Remember to be confident about what you tell your child and encourage her to speak to you whenever she wants to.
Image source: Shutterstock
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