Talking to children about disasters, tragedies - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Talking to children about disasters, tragedies

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Teachers carry children away from Briarwood Elementary school after a tornado destroyed the school in south Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Paul Hellstern) Teachers carry children away from Briarwood Elementary school after a tornado destroyed the school in south Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Paul Hellstern)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

If the video and images of the tornado damage from Moore, Okla., have been difficult to watch for adults then imagine how it must seem to our children.

We can't shelter them from the realities of life but how do we help them process the tornado and the tragedy of the last two days?

Less is more when it comes to children watching news coverage of disasters and human tragedies.

Therapist Judy Bookman said young minds will be able to handle the truth if they digest a little bit at a time with a caring adult at their side to answer questions.

Not all youngsters can emotionally handle a natural disaster that has shaken a nation. This is the time parents need to know their children and their limits.

"If you have a child who you know is frightened easily and gets fearful and get concerned about other people," Bookman said. "It's okay for them to know about this if they are of a reasonable age and it depends on the individual child."

Monday's destructive EF-5 twister that landed raced across Moore, Okla., might haunt youngsters more than other natural disasters because of some the victims where closer to their ages.

Some parents might want to turn off the news while others believe their children can't afford to live in a vacuum of current events.

"You can realistically say, 'we don't have answers to those kinds of questions,'" Bookman said. "Just know that this was a horrible thing that happens, hardly ever happens. You are going to be with me and we are going to be safe."

Parents should direct their child's attention to the outpouring of help and donations from people in their own community, Bookman added. It will show them that bad things happen but good things can came from it.

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