When your child sees violence on TV
Last night I had a bad mummy moment. It’s like my ‘Mummy’ brain decided to shut itself off at the most important moment and I failed…miserably.
We were sitting on the couch, it was way past Elliott’s bedtime and I made my last attempt to pry him from the couch and take him to bed. While I was giving him a big cuddle and he had his eyes on the television, I was too busy being an annoying mum, hugging and kissing him that I didn’t see what was actually on the television. CSI had started without me realising and as soon as Elliott started saying ‘Mummy’ in a distressed voice I turned to see a dead woman lying on the floor with blood coming from her mouth.
As soon as I realised what was happening, I quickly turned him away from the television and whisked him away. At the same time, giving him a big cuddle and reassuring him that it wasn’t real, but that didn’t change how I felt.
How to support your child
Of course, the main thing is to monitor what your children see on television, but just like my situation, there may also be times when something simply catches you off guard and your child sees some sort of violence on TV. If like me you ever get caught out or find that your child has been exposed to something they shouldn’t have been, here are some tips suggested by the Australian Psychological Society to support your child:
- Listen to your child to understand how they might be feeling and thinking.
- Encourage them to talk about what they just saw, but don’t force them.
- Emphasise that it’s normal to think and feel that way.
- Expect that they are likely to ask the same questions until they can make sense of what they saw on the television.
- Be patient. Provide the truth in your responses and explanations that are thoughtful and that will help them to have an understanding that is realistic.
- Correct anything that they may have misperceived.
- Let them express their feelings, it could be through play instead of words so take the time to play with them.
- Reassure your child that nothing bad will happen to them and that you are there to support them and look out for them.
- If your child is distressed, do a calming activity with them.
- Give plenty of cuddles.
- Let them be dependent on your for a little while.
Has this happened to you before? How did you deal with it?