Over the past couple of weeks, thousands of infants, toddlers, and teens have been separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border. Although these events may be heartbreaking to those who care about children’s welfare, those who are most vulnerable, of course, are the children themselves. And beyond the kids who are currently being held in detention centers, children all over the country have been exposed to news coverage and discussions that may have them feeling anxious, scared, and confused, wondering if they might be the next to not know when they’ll see their loved ones again.
“When kids hear about or see other kids who look like themselves or their classmates in dangerous situations—be it in the aftermath of a natural disaster, a school shooting, or events like those taking place at the border right now—it’s natural for them to wonder if they or their friends might suffer the same fate,” says Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “As parents and caregivers, our role is to help children navigate this frightening time with honest, age-appropriate information, even if we’re still trying to make sense of things ourselves.”
Although you might think these issues are too grown-up to discuss with your girl or that she’s unaware of what’s happening, it’s unrealistic to think you can shield her from these events entirely. Even if you keep the news off when your daughter is around, she’s likely reading about these issues on social media, overhearing opinions about the situation in adult conversations, and even discussing it with her friends at school.
“When kids only have a small part of the story or have heard rumors from a potentially unreliable source, their minds tend to jump to the most terrifying conclusions,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. Here’s how you can step in to support your girl.
On June 19, 2018, Girl Scouts of the USA joined other members of Leadership 18, a coalition of CEOs from some of the nation’s largest and most influential human service nonprofits, to call on the Trump administration to halt “zero tolerance” immigration policy. Read more about the statement from the coalition.
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