Talking to your kids about 9/11

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by Malini Basu / WVIT

KING5.com

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 9:22 AM

As we get closer to the anniversary of September 11th, young children may be trying to make sense of what happened that day.

As parents, how much do you tell them?

"You have to be honest and direct with a child and you have to try to aim at their developmental level," says Dr. Marshall Mandelkern, Chairman of Psychiatry at Connecticut's St. Rafael hospital.

Dr. Mandelkern says explaining something to a 12-year-old is completely different than explaining it to a younger child.

He says parents should refrain from using words like "terrorist attack" and describe what happened in the simplest terms.

"There were sky scrapers in New York and some men took over an airplane and flew into it. For a 12-year-old you would have a different kind of conversation, so I think the key is to pay attention to the level of your child," he advises.

Dr. Mandelkern also says it's important to make sure your child feels safe and secure and understands that this isn't something that happens often.

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