TALKING TERROR WITH TEENS

tragedt At this point, your teen has heard about the tragedy in Boston and might have seen horrific images associated with it. Some teens will be deeply affected by the event, while for others it will hardly be a blip on their radar. In either case, terroristic acts can bring up a variety of emotions and questions. Make sure to set aside time to talk to your teens about the events that occurred in Boston. Use this as an opportunity to explore a wide array of life topics. Here are a few suggestions.

TALK ABOUT REASONS FOR TERRORISTIC ACTS. Talk about why terrorists act as they do. Allow your teen to come up with some of the reasons on their own. Some examples are mental illness, misguided hate, isolation and loneliness, need for notoriety, and extremist beliefs.

PROCESS EMOTIONS. By allowing your kids to process their emotions, they will realize that it is ok to feel sad, angry, anxious or even numbness. All of these emotions are valid. Remind them that these emotions are only temporary, and that there is always a silver lining. By talking to them about their emotions, you are also reminding them that they can come to you during difficult times.

FINDING THE GOOD. One thing that we see time and time again is that the goodness of people is always brought out in a time of tragedy. Amidst the smoke, carnage, and chaos in Boston, people were rushing to help complete strangers. People took the shirts from their backs to create make-shift tourniquets. Boston residents opened their homes to complete strangers who were stranded. Restaurants served free food and water to the hungry. Remind your teens that the do-gooders in this world far outnumber the bad seeds.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING. Although we are seeing horrific acts of violence all too often, remind your teens that terrorist acts, statistically speaking, do not directly involve a large number of people. Remind them that they are relatively safe in their own environment and that these senseless acts of violence are very unlikely to directly affect them.

GIVE THEM AN ACTION POINT. Remind your teens that they are not helpless. If they want to help the victims, they can do so by sending cards to those who remain in the hospital or raise or donate funds to donate to the healing efforts. The mayor of Boston has established a new fund called The One Fund Boston which is to help victims of the latest tragedy.

CARPE DIEM. Although it is a bit cliché, remind your teen to live their life one day at a time and to its fullest. None of us know what our life holds in store for us. Cherish each and every day. [Skip this one if your child is particularly anxious or has obsessive tendencies.]

Whether your teens show their appreciation or not, they will learn from the time you spend talking with them about these events. Make sure that you do not lecture them but rather engage them. Good luck with your conversations.  For my teens who read my blog, you get the gist, right?  Talk to people around you about the events in Boston if you need to share your thoughts and feelings.  You are not alone!

-Sheri
Motivational and Educational Speaker for Tweens and Teens
http://www.TeenWiseSeattle.com

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