CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Children may not fully understand or process events like the Capitol Hill riots. Child advocacy groups say it’s important to talk with children about how to process the type of events similar to those seen Wednesday at the Captiol in Washington D.C..
Experts offer many tips to help children process events like riots and unrest similar to what we saw in the nation’s Capitol and even here in Charleston just months ago, they say the best thing parents can do is have a conversation.
“When they are tough, tough topics, we as adults need to talk about it with our kids,” says Director of Developments and Communications for the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center.
Civil unrest and riots have occurred more than once in the last year. Experts say it could raise questions for our children and their parents tasked with explaining the events.
“And I think there is a really great opportunity there for our parents and adults to engage children in those conversations right now that will really help our children,” says Hutchinson.
Experts say it’s important to be open and honest with children and young adults as the events playout in front of them.
“Definitely a teaching moment,” says Hutchinson. “It’s a great conversation for parents to share their beliefs, what they think and how they feel.”
For kids, experts say riots and unrest can create fear. They say it’s important to create a sense of in order to have a more open conversation.
“But I think it is very important for our children that we control the environment that we talk about them,” says Hutchinson.
Honesty and openness, experts say it’s important to have an age-appropriate dialog while correcting any misinformation.
“And they have to feel really safe asking their questions,” says Hutchinson. “They have to receive appropriate responses, be able to ask follow up questions.”
A good time to talk about riots and unrest as the happen, experts believe it can also open the door for uncomfortable conversations down the road.
“Anytime a parent can provide that environment where the child feels like they can come to them with anything of concern, that’s a real benefit,” says Hutchinson.
Experts say it’s also important for parents to filter how much information their children are taking in one sitting and be cognizant of where the information is coming from.