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Doctor: Talking With Kids About 9/11 Anniversary Important

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Many believe America lost its innocence on September 11, 2001.  Now a decade later a new generation, still innocent in many ways, is learning about the day that changed the way we live.

For fourth grade students of Amber Williams,  the lessons came in and outside of the classroom.

“The video that I showed them had a lot of facts about how many died in the tragedy, and how many children lost their parents, and I think for them to see that, it really got to a lot of them.”

Williams’ class also took a field trip to a Mesquite fire station.  There they could see and touch a twisted beam from the World Trade Center.

Child psychologist Milton Gearing warns that the fresh wave of news coverage accompanying the anniversary could cause anxiety in some children, so parents should be proactive.

“I think it would be a smart thing to ask ‘have you heard anything about it? have you seen anything on the internet or TV?’ They may have seen some things that you weren’t around to see or you’re not aware of.”

He says parents should also watch for behavior changes that would suggest that something was perhaps troubling a child already, and 9-11 revisited, simply brought it to the surface.

Dr. Gearing adds while it’s important that we never forget, even adults should be mindful of over-exposure to the disturbing images and memories associated with 9-11.

“It’s going to be upsetting when you watch these things and start to realize what that means, and the people involved, and the people that died.  It’s pretty horrible stuff, better not to stick your face in that for too long, really.”

He also included some tips for talking to your Kids:

  • Realize that some kids will be oblivious to it, and that’s fine
  • Stress that it’s a much safer world now
  • Stress that it happened a long time ago
  • Answer questions honestly
  • Stress the positives—including the heroism and patriotism after the tragedy
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