How violence affects children’s mental and emotional health

Q&A: News about violence affects children’s mental and emotional health: How to discuss bad news with your children

How violence affects children’s mental and emotional health


News about violence can have a profound impact on children’s mental and emotional well-being. As parents or guardians, it is crucial to understand how exposure to such news can affect children and how to effectively discuss bad news with them. This Q&A article aims to provide insights into the topic and offer practical strategies to navigate these conversations.

How does news about violence affect children?

Children are highly sensitive to their surroundings, and exposure to news about violence can evoke fear, anxiety, and distress. Constant exposure to violent news can lead to increased stress levels, sleep disturbances, and even symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in some cases. It can also impact their overall emotional well-being, causing feelings of sadness, anger, or helplessness.

When should parents discuss bad news with their children?

Parents should proactively engage in discussions about bad news with their children, especially when they are likely to come across violent news through various media channels. It is essential to initiate these conversations before children hear about it from other sources, ensuring that parents can provide accurate information and address any concerns or misconceptions.

How should parents approach these discussions?

When discussing bad news with children, it is crucial to create a safe and supportive environment. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Choose an appropriate time and place for the conversation, ensuring minimal distractions.
  • Listen actively to your child’s concerns and validate their emotions.
  • Use age-appropriate language and concepts to explain the situation.
  • Provide reassurance and emphasize the importance of safety measures in place.
  • Encourage questions and answer them honestly, avoiding unnecessary details.
  • Focus on positive aspects, such as community support or resilience stories.
  • Monitor their media exposure and discuss reliable sources of information.

What are some additional strategies to support children’s mental and emotional well-being?

Aside from discussing bad news, parents can implement the following strategies:

  • Encourage open communication and create a safe space for children to express their feelings.
  • Engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction, such as mindfulness exercises or hobbies.
  • Establish routines and maintain a sense of normalcy to provide stability.
  • Monitor and limit exposure to violent news or graphic content.
  • Encourage healthy coping mechanisms, such as engaging in physical activity or spending time with loved ones.
  • Seek professional help if necessary, such as consulting a child psychologist or therapist.


Discussing bad news with children is a crucial responsibility for parents or guardians. By understanding the impact of news about violence on children’s mental and emotional health and implementing effective strategies, we can help them navigate these challenging times. Remember to create a safe and supportive environment, provide accurate information, and prioritize their well-being.