"Mommy, what’s a Molotov cocktail?"
Our resident Physiology Counsellor STEPHANIE YOUNG shares insights and tips how to discuss the current situation with kids in the most appropriate way.
When it comes to your children, maintaining a sense of stability and security is vital during these days of tension and unrest. Although your children may not be witnessing protests and violence first hand, hearing others talk about it, catching glimpses on the news and social media, and taking part in playground conversations can all have a profound effect on them.
You may see changes in your child’s sleep patterns, behaviour, or appetite or find you are fielding more questions observing a sustained interest in the topic.
Depending on the age of your child, it is wise to consider age appropriate discussion topics and responses, all of which serve to reaffirm their safety.
For younger children, simple information is best followed again by a strong emphasis on safety and trust. Helping name the emotions they are feeling can be encouraged. For elementary aged children, a strong desire to understand why such events are occurring is healthy. Do your best to provide honest explanations that attempt to dispel myths and half truths.
When children reach adolescence, consider discussing the validity of their sources of information and how they can access resources and safety procedures when out in the city without a parent or guardian.
Lastly, for all ages (including yourself), do your best to help maintain healthy and active routines. Be hopeful and if needed, access a mental health professional for support in navigating difficult and complex emotions and thinking patterns.
Stephanie Young - Counsellor B.Ed (CA), M.Ed (CA), MSocSc (HKU)
Stephanie can help adolescent and adult clients cope with depression, anxiety or other disordered thinking, difficult, stressful life events and emotions and challenging physical health conditions.
She is registered with the Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association and adheres to the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association’s Code of Ethics.