While discussing high-profile child protection cases is not a subject to talk about “over dinner” it is important for parents to be open to conversation with their children, says Dr Carmela Bastian, SWIRLS member, senior lecturer in social work at Flinders University and expert in child protection.
Here is her advice on how to approach the conversation:
- Don’t be afraid of questions children ask; “Children are very insightful … if they’ve heard about children being hurt or children that have died, they’re obviously going to want to ask those questions.”
- Listen to what they’re asking, let them talk
- Be responsive
- Take extra care when dealing with children who might know victims involved in certain cases; “It’s really important for parents and teachers to be aware of the trauma or distress they might be feeling and be really attuned to that and respond to them in that moment if they’re displaying any signs of distress.”
- Limit young children’s exposure to media coverage as much as possible; “Obviously it’s really hard with social media and conversations that happen at school but it’s important to monitor what children are exposed to.”