How do you explain the Afghanistan events to children?

Grief counselors offer their advice
Parents' Day CNN 072819
Posted at 5:51 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 19:01:25-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Explaining the events in Afghanistan is no easy task, especially when talking to children.

“You know obviously you don’t want to give them all the gore and all the things that are possibly going on, but you absolutely want to be honest with them and kind of draw the picture out for them like ‘how did this happen?’" said Benny Puente, a local father and veteran.

Denise Daniels specializes in childhood grief and says a good rule of thumb is events that are mentionable are manageable.

“We have to be proactive as parents,” she explains. “First, you start off with asking your child what they know and what they’ve heard.. and that’s where you start building that important conversation that you need to be building with your children.”

She says it is important to teach them empathy and understand that not all parts of the world are the same as where we live. This can help them cope with these tragic events.

“We always minimize their exposure," Daniels said. "If they do happen to see it, one of the things that I say to kids is you know the reason it’s on the news is because it’s such a rare occurrence."

Experts also suggest showing young children a map of where these events occur. This can help minimize their fear and understand it is not occurring in our backyard.

Regardless of the approach, parents say it best to always stick with honesty.

“There’s no easy way to talk to them about it," Puente said. "You know, if they’re old enough to ask those questions, I feel that you can be very honest with them."

Keeping children in a routine and making sure they remain healthy and active can help them cope as well.