7 Ideas for Helping Teens Deal with Tragedy

boston-marathon-002You, like me, may know people who participated in the Boston Marathon yesterday, April 15th, 2013.  It was a tragic ending to, what for most, began as a day of celebration.  It is difficult to understand why these things happen, or what motivates others to inflict this pain.  It can be even more difficult for young teens and children to understand.

Here are 7 ideas for helping your children deal with understanding these tragedies.

  1. Be Willing to Discuss Tragedies with Your Kids
    • Younger teens can be scared by tragedies and wonder if something similar could happen to them.
    • Talk with them and take time to listen.
    • Answer their questions and share with them your concerns.
  2. Tell Them the Truth
    • Honesty is the best policy, but that doesn’t mean you need to share every gruesome detail.
    • Be age-appropriate when talking to your kids about any tragedy or disaster.
  3. Shelter Younger Teens & Preteens from Graphic Video & Pictures
    • When disasters and tragedies occur, especially in the immediate aftermath, keep the television news programs off when your younger teens are around.
  4. Reassure Your Kids as Best You Can
    • You can’t control natural disasters and tragedies from occurring, so you shouldn’t promise a child that you will protect them from any harm a catastrophe can bring.
    • Reassure them the best you can.
    • If your kids are worried about something bad occurring, tell them how unlikely it is to happen.
    • Of course, you can tell them, “We will do everything we can to always make sure you are safe from harm.”
  5. Don’t Ignore The Spiritual Issues
    • Be prepared for questions like “Why did God let so many people die?”
    • If you don’t have the answers, that’s okay.
    • Work with your kids to search for the answers together.
  6. Pray for People Who Have Been Impacted
    • Praying as a family for people affected by tragedy reinforces with your kids your own belief in God’s love and His power to care and heal those who have been hurt.
  7. Give
    • Find a way to give something, anything, to help people in need.
    • Giving to those in need is a spiritual response.  Christ calls us to serve.
    • Giving helps your kids to learn to cope with tragedy by serving those in need.
    • Your giving can be monetary, but supplies and food are needed as well.

These 7 Ideas can be found in Jim Burn’s book, TEEN-OLOGY, The Art of Raising Great Teenagers.


About Gene Reineman

Gene has been on staff @ CFCOG since 2006. He & his wife, Joey, have two children, Josette & Gabriel. Gene enjoys watching the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Phillies, & UNC Basketball. He also enjoys running, swimming, & playing golf. Gene’s approach to ministry, is in part, drawn from 1 Thessalonians 2:8, “We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” – NLT

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