Parenting When Tragedy Strikes

*This post may contain affiliate links to support the cost of this blog. At no cost to you, I may make a small commission if you purchase through these links. Read our Privacy Policy HERE

Table of Contents

My relationship with my children is very important to me. The SITS ladies asked a tough parenting question as to how to parent when tragedy strikes. Do you talk to them about it or
let them be kids?

Personally, I think it all depends on what the issue is. Is it about an ill or deceased loved one or a world event? In either event I believe we should be honest. Age-appropriate is definitely important. I generally state the facts as succinctly and truthfully as possible and then ask if there are questions. For example, last week my grandmother (79 years old) “drowned”. She was revived but was in Intensive Care. I visited her and explained to my 3 and 5 year olds that she “stopped breathing while she was swimming and is now in the hospital so the doctors can help her get better”. This seemed to be enough truthful information without scaring them.

As for world events, our world is preschool television and often I don’t even see the news for a few days. I limit television time and I’m not sure they are at an age where discussing such things would be beneficial. As we start to explore the world through books and they start to hear things at school or become interested in the news I will most definitely find out the facts (if I don’t already know them) and answer their questions again, as succinctly and truthfully as their curiosity demands. I hope that such honesty will build a trusting relationship with the children and myself and hopefully this will let them feel they can ask or talk to me about anything and know I will treat them with respect in the way I answer or help them through things.

What is your parenting stance on discussing tragedies with your children?

Picture of Elizabeth Ruth

Elizabeth Ruth

Elizabeth is a children's book author and designer of knit and crochet character hats under the brand The Ruthless Crafter. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, spend time with her family, and swim. She lives a full, happy life in Kitchener, Ontario with her husband and their two children.

you may also like...


  1. I just found your blog today on SITs. I dont have my own children, but I'm a nanny for 3 kids. Their parents have the same issues I thin with figuring out whats the best decision on how to treat a situation like this as well.

    come and visit me at

  2. Hello! I'm visiting from SITS…what a great blog you have! I'm now a follower! I think it's important to keep details of any tradedy "age appropriate" for the child. Give them only what their little minds can handle…nothing more, nothing less.

  3. Stopping by from SITS. It's hard to figure out how to handle situations like this. My 3yo is just starting to ask more questions about stuff.

  4. It's a tough question. My kids are older, but my son had a classmate kill himself a couple of weeks ago. I was horrified, especially since the school didn't bother to call & tell us. My son is pretty low key, so he wasn't as upset as a lot of kids would be, but I talked to him about it several times during the week and pointed out that the boy should have asked someone for help if he was being hurt, or if he was that upset about something. But it is such a tragedy for a 12 year old to do something awful like that. I felt terrible for the parents.

  5. I agree that it depends on the situation. My five year old wants to know everything but always winds up dwelling on the what ifs in life. Right now, we aren't telling her that her grandmother has cancer because we don't want her to obsess.

    Stopping by from SITS

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

About Elizabeth

Hi! I'm Elizabeth

Welcome to More Than A Mom, a space for daydreamers and creative thinkers who are obsessed with improving yourself, your home, and loving your family.


Sign up for our newsletter and get blogging updates directly into to your inbox!