Responding to Scary Events

War, violence, and loss have become common themes in local and world news. Parents and other caring adults can positively support and guide children as they hear scary news or experience traumatic events. The Human Development and Relationships Institute has several resources designed to help families and children process scary and violent events. You can find them online at or read below.

 Young Children

Death and Grief or Responding to Scary Events in the Parenting the Preschooler series support caregivers of 3- to 5-year-olds in processing and talking about death, grief, and scary or violent events.


For elementary aged children our Raising Caring Kids series might help children process how others are feeling. In particular, the Raising Caring Kids fact sheet A Little Caring Goes a Long Way may help elementary-ages kids and their caregivers think about responding with empathy.

 A short video about Responding to Scary Events from our Parenting: Behind the Behavior Series offers ideas on protecting kids from feeling overwhelmed by scary events and how to talk about these experiences. (The link will bring you to Facebook where this is currently posted.)


This article is for parents of teens about terrorism and mass violence and what parents can do to process these events with teens.

For children of all ages, a safe and trusted adult is the most important protection. Caring adults allow children to ask questions, process their feelings, and find comfort.

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