Family Communication about Difficult Topics
Family Communication. “Children need honest information about changes within their family; when this information is absent, children attempt to make sense of the situation on their own.” A common example of this is when a child blames themselves for parent conflict, separation, or divorce. It also applies to events affecting families today including systemic racism and police brutality, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families ask me, “how much should I tell my X-year-old child?” The answer is complicated and must consider the child’s developmental level and the content of the message to be shared. Many families find that they feel most comfortable telling their children the truth, in developmentally appropriate terms, and with the option to say, “that is for the grown-ups to worry about.” Indeed, fear can result from too little or too much information, so balance is key. The good news is that we can usually trust children to let us know if they need more or less information. Links below are some resources for communication with children about current events – but which can also be applied to a variety of experiences.
Talking to children about Racism