talking to our kids about difficult issues

Talking about Difficult Issues with Our Children

Our world has been in a state of unrest, conflict, and tragedy for a while now. Even if your kids don’t watch the news, they are likely to hear you discussing some of the difficult things going on in the world. While we don’t have to expose our kids to every ugly thing, we can help them become strong and compassionate by helping them understand the difficult issues. When we help them see every part of the world they live in, we help them grow personally as well. So how can we get better at talking about difficult issues with our children?

Be calm

It’s easy for us to get worked up about the troubles in our world. While there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about an issue, it’s important to be calm when talking about difficult issues with our children. When we explain what is going on in a calm way, it helps them know that things are not out of control. This security is important for kids. They can handle hard things as long as there is some kind of stability in their tiny realms. Our calmness will help them feel secure.

Keep it simple

Many of the issues in the world today are so complicated. When talking about difficult issues with our children, let’s keep it as simple and brief as we can. The younger the child is, the simpler the explanation should be. And even older kids don’t need all the details. If they have questions, they will ask them. It’s easy to try to explain the history of the situation or the complex nature of these things. But kids just need the facts of what is happening now. Sometimes their questions will lead to bigger discussions, and that’s great. Let’s wait for them to steer the discussion in that direction though. 

Think about action

When we talk about difficult issues with our children, they often want to know what they can do to help. Sometimes there isn’t anything we can do besides hope that things can change. But quite often, there is something we can do. There are ways to donate help, whether in the form of money, items, time, or volunteer work. Or there may be ways to send encouragement or to communicate with people in tough situations. If there are public events, perhaps you could attend. 

One of the best things we can do to take action with our kids is to keep teaching them about the difficult issues in our world. Read books about different regions of the world and the struggles their people face every day. There are many children’s picture books available about difficult issues. Use resources that will help your children grow both in their own understanding and in their own character.

My Signing Time can help kids identify their own feelings and think through the feelings of others with the Feelings section in our Signing Time Dictionary. It’s so much easier for young children to express their feelings with a sign instead of having to explain them verbally. For some reason, signing feels safer for them. And knowing the signs for various feelings can help in discussing how someone else might be feeling as well.

Even our youngest children can begin to learn good character qualities through our Baby Signing Time programming, like the episode Let’s Be Friends. You can watch Baby Signing Time and all of our educational programming with a My Signing Time Subscription. You can even try it with a free 14-day trial to see if it’s right for your family!

Look at what is good in the world

Having to talk about difficult issues with our children can feel heavy for both us and them. So while it’s important to help them understand the hard situations in their world, it’s also important to point at all the good. There’s a whole lot that is wonderful about this world of ours. Let’s help our kids see that there is both beauty and blessing alongside the difficulty and pain. 

It’s really good for our kids to see all of their world, not only the easy and good parts. Let’s be willing to talk about difficult issues with our kids to help them grow into strong, compassionate people.

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