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Talk with kids; ‘don’t gloss over things but do it age-appropriately’

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Christian psychologist Chuck Borsellino says parents shouldn’t be afraid to talk to their children about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States.

“First, don’t over-respond and don’t under-respond. Give your children information that is appropriate for them,” Borsellino told his “At Home Live” TV audience the day following the tragedies in New York and Washington. “Small children get small facts, and older kids get more facts.”

Second among Borsellino’s guidelines for parents dealing with what to say and how to say it: Give children the truth. “Be careful that you don’t tell them something today that you’ll have to correct tomorrow or next week,” he said. “That would make them wonder what else you’ve told them they can’t rely on. Don’t gloss over things, but, again, do it age-appropriately.

“And parents have to regulate the television set,” Borsellino said. “When we have 24-hour TV coverage, children think their world is falling apart. They can’t put events in perspective. They might think all the buildings in the world are falling. Don’t have television on all day and all evening. That overwhelms children.”

Finally, Borsellino encouraged parents to reassure their children. “Tell them that you love them and are going to take care of them. Reassure them of the strength of your family. And let them know the depth of your faith. Those things will give them security,” he said.

At Home Live is a daily family talk show with a Christian perspective produced by FamilyNet, a ministry of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board carried on 145 television affiliates across the United States. More information about At Home Live and a commentary from Borsellino are available at www.FamilyNetTV.com.

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  • Martin King