Raising your children to be compassionate, smart, and strong individuals is no small feat by any means. As parents, we want only what’s best for our children and to have strong bonds with them from birth through adulthood. With how tumultuous these last few years have been, it can be difficult to raise children without them seeing the full realities of the world: race wars, violence, drugs, and all in the middle of a pandemic. Is it better to shield them from these harsh realities or to let them know what’s going on in the world?
Your Child’s Age Matters
The most important factor in potentially controlling what your child knows about world affairs is their current age. If they are very young, say around five years old, telling them everything that’s going on in the world right now may be too much for their growing brains and consciences. You don’t want to outright lie to children, but you also don’t want to overwhelm them either. There’s only going to be so much information and content that a younger child will understand, and if not, they may make generalizations or fake truths to try to make sense of the situation, which could only make it more confusing for them in the long run. Shielding your children from the real world in general is never a good idea, however, but simply making sure they aren’t getting information overload too young is key. Children have a right to know what’s going on in the world, but making sure they also fully understand these situations and circumstances will help them deal with the information better, and help them feel less anxiety.
Keeping It Real
If your children are older and can better understand the real world, remember to keep it as factual as you can. Explain the situations and realities as best you can without your own opinion involved. This allows your children to form their own opinions from the heart, and not without any biases from friends, family, or yourself. If they want to talk about the situations and problems facing the world, then by all means express your own opinion as well. But making sure your children have a chance to think about these realities and come to their own conclusions first will help them better process the information, and not become stressed or worried. Remind them about what they can and cannot control in this world, and that they can always control their emotions even if they can’t control the situation.
No matter how you look at it, the world is ever-changing and can be scary for some children, regardless of their age. Remember to stay strong for yourself and for your children. And however you choose to explain situations and events to your children, be sure to let them know how much you care about and love them too!
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