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How To Talk To Your Kids About Tragedy [AUDIO]

Read More Stories About Autumn Pasquale

Your children may have asked you why the tragic death of Autumn Pasquale happened? Is it safe to talk to my neighbors? A New Jersey psychologist has tips on how to handle the news at home.

Stuffed animals left at makeshift memorial to Autumn.Pasquale
Stuffed animals left at makeshift memorial to Autumn Pasquale (Dino Flammia, Townssquare Media NJ)

The most important thing you can do as a parent is ask questions, said Dr. Steven Tobias, a psychologist at the Child and Family Development Center in Mooristown.

“You need to allow your kids to explain their feelings, but put it in perspective. Acknowledge that bad has been done but emphasize that its not an everyday occurrence” said Tobias.

He says you also need to treat each child differently based on age and anxiety level.

“You can ask younger children what they know or what they’ve heard from classmates, but I don’t think its necessary to go into any great detail about a particular incident if you don’t have to. Its also important to understand your child’s emotions…some will cry, others might keep to themselves and not wish to talk about the incident…either way they both need to know that what they’re feeling is okay.”

Parents should also sit down with their children and set some safety rules, both so the child feels comfortable and the adults as well.

“How far away from home its okay to be..what are the rules for checking in…how late can they stay out…these are all things that parents should discuss with their kids and then repeat it over and over so the get the message” Tobias said.

More tips are available online.

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