How to talk with your child about terrorismThe recent death of terrorist and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden is on everyone’s mind, and while Americans and others around the world laud this as the true “Mission Accomplished,” others are left asking themselves: Is violence and preemptive death a justifiable means of revenge?
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
The recent death of terrorist and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden is on everyone’s mind, and while Americans and others around the world laud this as the true “Mission Accomplished,” others are left asking themselves: Is violence and preemptive death a justifiable means of revenge?
No matter how you feel about the assassination of bin Laden, how you approach the subject with children is deeply important.
Jennifer Galbraith, a counselor at The Village Family Service Center, says how you talk with your child about terrorism and bin Laden’s death really depends on the child’s age.
“It might not be a good idea to talk about the issue with young children unless they ask you about it first,” Galbraith says. “Developmentally, they may not understand the concept of death, terrorism, or military action.”
No matter her age, reassure your child that she is safe, and limit her exposure to news reports, press photos, online news sites, and other media. Violent images and commentary may make your child confused or scared.
“If the child is older and you believe you need to process this subject, you will want to think about the kind of message you want to send,” Galbraith says. “You might choose to strictly stick to the facts instead of giving your opinion, but that is your decision.”
Remember, if you do decide to give your opinion, these comments will stick with your child, for better or worse.
“In words that your child understands, you could discuss or review the history of 911, the role Osama bin Laden played, and how terrorist actions impacted, and continue to impact, many individuals around the world,” Galbraith says. “Let your child know that every action has a consequence (good or bad), and it is the stance of the U.S. Government to pursue terrorists until they are brought to justice (or receive a consequence for their actions). At times, that means using military forces, which is what occurred in this situation.”
You may want to be prepared to answer questions and if you don’t have an answer, it’s OK to say, “I don’t know,” or “Let me think about it and get back to you.”
For more information about how to talk with your children about terrorism terrorist acts, contact The Village counseling services at 800-627-8220.