Committee for Children Blog

Talking to Children About Terrorism

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When terrible events occur, such as mass shootings or other acts of terrorism, it can be challenging enough for most adults to wrap their heads around the events, let alone explain them to children. Yet whether via social media, television news, at home, or at school, many kids are likely to be exposed to information about terrorism, and this may heighten children’s fears and anxieties. 

How can parents and those who regularly interact with children best communicate about terrorism and other violent tragedies? 

Committee for Children, creator of the Second Step social-emotional learning program, has compiled some resources to assist with and help navigate these tough conversations:

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry—Terrorism and War: How to Talk to Children

American Psychological Association—Building Resilience to Manage Indirect Exposure to Terror

National Association of School Psychologists

PBS Parents: Talking with Kids About News

Purdue University Extension—Purple Wagon, a site for parents, children, and educators on war, terrorism, and peacemaking

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network—Catastrophic Mass Violence Resources