How to: Talk to Your Children about Tragedy

I’m doing something a little different on the blog today. After the massacre in Las Vegas, a lot of parents are asking “How do I talk to my kids about what happened?” I wondered the same thing on September 11, 2001 (and many times since then). In 2001, Scott and I had only recently become followers of Jesus and our children were very young. That was the first of many times we turned to the Lord. As brand new believers, we had lots of questions and looked to the church for some answers.

Parents, lean in to the truth of the gospel.

Live it out before your children. Show them lots of love. I know you are struggling to understand it too, but please put down your phones, turn off the television and instead give your kids some extra attention. Your kids will look to you for cues on how to react. If you are anxious and fearful, they likely will be too. Remember that the Lord doesn’t want us to have a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

So what does that look like? How do we talk to our kids? I talked to Jeff Gautney, our Family & Missions Pastor about it and he shared this:

I am sharing with you how I address my own children in these situations.

I think it is vital to expose sin and the results of sin.

The reason this happened is because of sin in this person’s life. So I would tell my children that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of GodRomans 3:23.

It’s easy, especially if it gets personal, to link the sin and evil with that person.

Then we could develop a hate for them and a root of bitterness takes place.  It’s important to foster a love for even our enemies because Matthew 5:44 reminds us that we should love our enemies and pray for those you persecute us.

Children may become worried that it could happen again.

Kids could develop a fear of  being left alone. They can be consumed with concern for loved ones. We should live by Phillipians 4:16Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Encourage my children to be wise in how they respond in conversations with other kids.

Some will come with hate and bitterness in their heart towards this enemy, but lean on Ephesians 5:15-16Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. We can’t change others but we can surrender to the LORD and let HIM change us because these are dark and evil days and we need HIM to be our everything.

We hope these tips help you when talking with your kids about tragedy. What kinds of questions are your kids asking? How are you talking to them about this tragedy?

What are your thoughts?

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