Shocking images of Manchester’s terrorist attack have circulated around the world and even for adults are distressing to see.
The Examiner has spoken to Huddersfield clinical child psychologist Dr Leanne Tidsey to ask her for her professional advice on talking to children about traumatic events.
How should parents approach discussing the tragic events in Manchester terror attacks?
Dr Tidsey says: “Firstly it’s important to be perceptive as to how your child is presenting.
“Children do respond differently to traumatic events. Some will want to talk and some will be withdrawn. It also can depend on their personality.
“No-one likes to see a child upset but by avoiding talking about what happened it could cause problems later in life.
“But it’s really important to encourage them to talk but not pressuring them to do so until they are ready.”
Should I stop my child watching television or looking at terror attack coverage on TV?
“It’s a difficult one, and it depends on the age of the child and the content.
“It can be unhealthy to sensor TV and social media as it is a huge part of our their world.
“While some things can be upsetting it’s about moderating what they are watching and how often.
“It is a natural curiosity and to sensor that could encourage them to look elsewhere where it can’t be moderated.”
Should I lie to my child about what happened in Manchester?
“It’s obviously a parental decision and again depends on the age of the child but I wouldn’t recommend being dishonest about terror attacks to children.
“Give children basic facts, tell them what it is they want to know, ask them what they would like to know and then give them access to that.
“They have ways of finding out information and while a parents natural reaction is to want to shield a child from being upset, they deserve to know the truth.
“It’s important when you do tell children about traumatic events that you add context to what has happened, so they know it’s extremely rare for such extreme acts of terror and the acts of bravery and kindness which have come to light.”
What signs should I look out for?
“Really normal symptoms of trauma include a child being more fearful or clingy, graphic thoughts, dreams, difficulty concentrating, being startled easily, distant or disconnected, becoming irritable and disobedient.
Where and when should I seek help?
“If the symptoms continue over a number of weeks it is worth speaking to your GP or child’s school.
“Schools are getting much better in recent times and helping students process traumatic events. They may be able alleviate your concerns and have professional counselling available.
“Your GP is also an option for therapy referrals or you can pay for private professional counsellors.”