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How do I talk to my child about terrorism?

Children often get more than we think - and they worry and worry. How do we explain terrorism to them?
Photo: coloroftime / iStock

How can I explain to my children what is going on there cruel in the world?

Anyone who turns on the TV is repeatedly confronted with it: bombings, people fleeing in fear, destroyed homes ... our children see these pictures. How do we explain terrorism to them?

If we are honest, we would also like to have an explanation for the atrocities that are happening right now in our world. But if adults make us feel so lost in front of these messages, how must children be? How do we explain terrorism to them?

The media advisor "Look!" (an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, etc.) emphasizes that these pictures are stressful for children and that they are worried that something like this can happen to us. That's why you should offer children just under ten years age-friendly formats for information, if they respond to the pictures in the news.

Information and education are the nuts and bolts - for both children and adults.

But: Do not let your under-tens watch the Tagesschau or Heute-Journal, which will overwhelm and confuse them. Look, if your children are present, child-friendly news like "Logo!" in KiKa. "Parents should always look at the coverage with their children and watch out for age-appropriate formats, and when they talk to them about the events, kids will better learn to assess and handle them, " says SCHAU HIN! Media coach Kristin Langer.

But honestly, parents are just human and do not know everything. If you are questioned, send together with your child your question to the editors of children's news (for example, to the children's news "logo!" (, or "nine and a half" (, "child network" (, "Anyway" (anyway), the Kinderradiokanal ( or info pages like

It is important that you do not leave your child alone, no matter if under or over ten years, with his fear of terrorism.

Especially older children have already learned a lot about the current terrorism through classmates and social media - also a lot of wrong. Ask your child what it has already heard and how it affects him.

Make smart with your child and talk about your findings. Be honest, but not too confusing in smaller children.

Children tend to see things more dramatically than they really are. Especially when they see something in the media over and over again, it can give them the impression that it happens more often and that it is closer than it really is. Relativizes that.

But do not talk about the fear and worries of your children, advises Amanda Harris of the Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma Loss and Grief Network. It's fine to be scared or worried. But tell your child that it's safe, do not be scared yourself. A good way to encourage your child is to focus his attention on the positive aspects: the many brave helpers who are on hand immediately. The compassion, the cohesion.

In addition, it is important for young children under the age of ten to bring your explanations to a happy ending in order to reduce fear: evil people have attacked other people because they disapprove of their policies. But the police are looking for them and some have already caught the bad people and now they are going to jail.

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