Many unanswered questions remain following the tragic fire that took the lives of five children in Minneapolis on Friday. When tragedy strikes kids ask questions. Dr. Joel Oberstar from PrairieCare explains that how you talk to your kids about tragedy is complex.
"I think basically you have to look at the developmental age of your child," said Dr. Oberstar. "Probably the most important thing is being supportive and providing a safe space to have the discussion."
It is important to find out what the child knows and how they feel about it according to Dr. Oberstar.
Tips to help kids cope with tragedy:
Start with broad, open ended questions before narrowing in.
It is important for parents to provide reassurance that the situation is safe.
Children's perception of how things work is different than how an adult views a situation.
Queues to look for:
One of the challenges is unlike adults kids sometimes don't come out and say what is bothering them. One of the more common complaints children will voice are physical complaints. Upset stomach, headache, not wanting to go to school. They may even talk about nightmares they are having. Those are all things are red flags according to Dr. Oberstar.