How A Child Psychiatrist Suggests Dealing With Really Scary News

This article was originally published on October 4, but has been republished in light of the November 5 act of terrorism in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
A deadly mass shooting taking 59 lives; the people of Puerto Rico abandoned and suffering; Hurricane Harvey and the 1,000-year flood; North Korea threatening nuclear war because of the president's volatile tweets.
The negative news cycle goes on and on.
It’s a scary time to be an adult right now, which means that it can get scary for our children, too. As a child psychiatrist for nearly four decades, I’ve seen that when children are also exposed to the never-ending negative news cycle — even if that just means hearing their parents talk about current events — it makes them feel unsafe, which is often manifested by sleepless nights, anxiety, headaches, clinginess, and belly pain. If that sounds like the way you feel as a result of the news, or the very real stressors going on in the world around you, your children can begin to sense and mimic those feelings at a very young age.
With the four steps ahead, I’ll explain how to put their — and your! — minds at ease.
Daniel G. Amen, MD is a child psychiatrist, founder of Amen Clinics across the U.S., and author of Captain Snout and the Super Power Questions: Don’t Let the ANTs Steal Your Happiness.