Helping your child cope with media coverage of traumatic events

Terrorism and trauma helping children cope

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Blanket coverage of terrorist attacks and tragedies mean that even very young children are being exposed to upsetting and traumatic information. How can parents help them cope? Here are links to five resources that may help

1. Create space to communicate

‘The best thing to do is to be there for them, to listen if they want to talk, to give them time, and to offer them any practical help they need.’

Read more: YoungMinds

2. Reassure them when they want to talk

Tell them: ‘Remember that worrying stories are often in the news because they are rare – they don't happen very often.’

Read more: BBC Newsround 

3. Keep things simple

‘Children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that the daily structures of their lives will not change.’

Read more: National Association of School Psychologists 

4. Be honest

‘Try to help your child understand what has happened by giving a truthful explanation that is appropriate for their age. This may help reduce feelings of confusion, anger, sadness and fear.’

Read more: NHS 

5. Listen to their views

For older children and teens:. ‘By this age, they will most likely be getting information from their own sources, some of which will be unreliable or biased. Listen to their views and encourage them to question what they are reading or hearing.’

Read more: Parent Zone

Further reading

A Psychological Guide for Families: Trauma in Children 


The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or NCA-CEOP.

First published: March 2015

Updated: June 2017 and May 2018

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