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Nepal Quake, Texas Tornadoes and Kids’ Fears

April 29th, 2015     By Laura Buddenberg, Manager Training and Community Outreach, Mother of two

Crisis. Family

With the media’s 24-hour news cycle and insatiable appetite for sensational stories, wall-to-wall coverage of natural disasters is always going to dominate the airways, online news services, newspapers and magazines.

This week, several such events have been front-and-center, including the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the massive storms with tornadoes and baseball-sized hail closer to home in Texas. The imagery and language used to present both of these stories are frightening enough for adults; for little ones, they can be absolutely terrifying.

When your children see these stories, they may understandably become upset, worried and anxious. As a parent, you’re going to face questions from your kids like, “Could an earthquake knock down our house?; “What happens if I get sucked up by a tornado?”; and “Are we safe?”

Rather than let your kids’ fertile imaginations run wild, it’s best to address these issues directly and immediately.

I highly recommend finding helpful suggestions in an article regarding this very topic on the Boys Town website. We’ve also compiled a Guide to Parenting Through Crisis that can provide great advice for a variety of crisis situations and specific worries your child might have.

As we enter the summer months, the potential for severe weather will be present across much of our country. And with the drought in California reaching epic levels, you can bet you’ll be seeing big stories about wildfires in the news, too. At Boys Town, we believe that being well-prepared to answer your kids’ questions about natural disasters will enable you to ease their fears and have calming discussions with them about their safety and the safety of your home and entire family.

Incidentally, you can easily apply these parenting tips to discussions about “man-made” disasters and crises like plane crashes, sectarian violence, civil unrest and any number of other potentially headline-grabbing news stories your kids may come across on the Internet or TV.

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