Talking to your kids about the chaos at the Capitol

KNWA

If you're a parent, the most important thing you need to do? Check in with yourself first.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — With a mob of violent protesters storming the U.S. Capitol, on top of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s normal for children to have fears and questions.

COURTESY OF BONNIE KING

University of Arkansas Clinical Instructor, Bonnie King, is a mother of three.

It’s a super stressful time and it’s not easy so I don’t want to pretend that it’s easy because it’s not.

BONNIE KING, PARENT AND UA CLINICAL INSTRUCTOR

Before her kids started asking questions about Wednesday’s events at the Capitol, she opened the dialogue on the morning drive to school on Thursday, January 7.

“It takes it to the next level to where they just get curious and they feel more empowered, rather than just scared and fearful because of what they don’t know,” she said.

Bentonville Licensed Professional Counselor, Coretta Woodard, said parents should follow King’s lead and have these hard conversations.

“I think it’s very important for parents to open that dialogue up,” she said.

Woodard also said it’s important parents allow their children to ask questions.

“That gives you almost a scope of what they’re thinking and what they know,” she said. “That way you don’t give them too much to digest at one time.” 

COURTESY OF BONNIE KING

Both Woodard and King said the only way to regulate someone else’s emotions is to make sure yours are in check.

“If we haven’t had time to deescalate, or we’re angry, or we’re frustrated, or we’re sad, or we’re worked up, that can really shape what your kid is receiving from the conversation,” Woodard said.

For us to be able to know how to do that for ourselves, we’re able to teach that to others and to our children, and then we can pass that on as healthy habits.

BONNIE KING, PARENT AND UA CLINICAL INSTRUCTOR

Woodard said some ways to help destress and navigate your emotions include:

  • getting enough sleep
  • taking time to do the things you love
  • eating healthy
  • exercising regularly
  • unplugging from social media

Woodard said the most important thing you can do though, is rely on what gives you strength.

For some, it’s faith, for some, it’s meditation, for some, it may be coming to therapy, but you’ve got to know what your strength is right now and you’ve got to turn to that.

CORRETTA WOODARD, LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR, BENTONVILLE 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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