Expert Weighs In On How To Talk To Kids In World Full Of Turmoil

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jul 16, 2016

It's difficult to turn on the TV or scroll through phones without seeing tragic images.

In the past several months, we've seen terror attacks both overseas and on U.S. soil, plus mass shootings in San Bernardino, Orlando,  and Dallas. Then there's the police shootings in Baton Rouge and Minnesota that have spurred protests across the nation.

It's inevitable at some point young eyes were and are watching.

"There's so much going on in this world in terms of violence. There's so much on the news, around the world, and a lot of times kids see this," Nashville child psychologist Brett Shapiro said. 

Shapiro is also a father of two nine-year-old twins, Isabel and Hayden. He said young children may find it difficult to understand the difference between reality and fantasy.

"Often times children learn from what they see, so if they see a violent act they think it's normal," said Shapiro. 

He said parents should not be afraid to ask how their children feel. Educating them on what causes violence and the consequences of it is imperative. He also added parents shouldn't shy away from their children's questions. 

"Parents need to be calm, they need to be patient, they need to be reserved in the sense that, if they're caught off guard with it, that's the perfect time to sit down at the child's level," Shapiro said. 

However, how young is too young? Shapiro said that depends on the child's development but shielding them may be the biggest mistake you can make.

"Even if parents shielded them without having a phone or some sort of technology they're going into environments where there is that opportunity, there is that technology. So to say children don't see that, I don't know if that's a fair thing to say," said Shapiro.