Click here for the full Huffpost article by Dr. Phil.
I was browsing Huffington Post, and came across this piece by Dr. Phil. It is obviously directed towards talking to your children about school shootings and other tragedies that are publicized frequently now. Initially I just skimmed through the article. Then I slowed down, went back up to the top, and re-read it. It had some decent advice in it, which for some reason surprised me. Definitely look at it if you’re having trouble explaining to your kids some of the crap that’s going down around us almost every day now. However, I’m going to focus on one specific piece, and take it in a different direction.
The one piece of advice that stood out to me was:
“• When you talk about something scary, talk to your child in a normal voice. Don’t use euphemisms. Tell him or her straight. But don’t tell it in a whispery voice. That just makes it more scary.”
You could put this quote in article on how to talk to your kid about just about anything scary that’s going on. It holds true pretty much across the board.
This, for example, is how I address my daughter’s questions about her illness. I’m straight-forward and honest with her. I try to answer her question as best I can in a way that’s appropriate for her age level. (Some questions, though, like “Will I have to have a transplant?” are difficult at any age, I think.) I don’t pretend everything’s okay. I don’t try to distract her or re-direct her. I don’t talk to her like she’s a baby. I talk to her like she’s a little adult. The transplant question got: “Probably, yes. HOWEVER, hopefully it’ll be years and years before that has to happen, and in the meantime, they’re discovering new treatments constantly, so maybe you won’t. We just have to wait and see. Don’t worry about it right now though. You’re doing good now.”
She deserves that. She deserves to know that I respect her enough to address her concerns in a straight-forward fashion. I do it with her health, and with every other scary thing we encounter. I truly believe that if I handle things in a no-nonsense fashion, it takes away some of the fear because Mommy’s not scared. Mommy’s not acting differently about something.
Regardless of your parenting style, or what you think of Dr. Phil, I think you need to at least read that quoted piece a few times, and consider how you interact with your children about scary things.