When a couple divorces, chances are good the individuals involved don't see eye to eye on a few critical things in life. Maybe the big stumbling block is finances; maybe its politics.
Differences over such things can create significant friction even after the couple separates. If children are involved, such divisions can rear their heads in how adults fulfill their parenting roles. Typically, displaying such tensions are not in the best interest of the children and so the scope of Minnesota child custody and visitation plans often sets clear boundaries.
There may be times, however, when world events conspire to leave everyone in something of a lurch. The recent terrorism in Europe and Africa may serve as an example. Individual reactions what has happened can vary widely. And while everyone is entitled to their opinion about how to respond, experts generally agree it's not fitting for adults to impose their political views on the kids.
So what's the right way to proceed? One parenting expert out of Purdue University has some thoughts on the subject and we share some of them.
Perhaps the number one bit of advice offered by Prof. Emerita Judith A. Myers-Walls is for parents, teachers and other adults to be open -- if cautiously -- to talking about the events taking place around the world. Next, she says they should ensure the message they deliver to the kids is consistent.
Myers-Walls says with the ease of access to news today parents should assume that children of every age are at least somewhat aware of what has happened. By the use of gentle, probing questions, adults can assess how much a child knows and determine what if anything might need to be discussed.
Beyond that, she says the important thing to reinforce with children is that they are safe. This could be done by stressing that the events involved a relatively small number of people in far distant countries. Additionally, they reassure children that a lot of caring adults are around watching out for them.
Older children might require more in-depth conversations, but rather than sliding into a situation of assigning blame, Myers-Walls suggests trying to focus on stories of those who are successfully working for peace.
Myers-Walls says the one thing parents should avoid creating what she calls a "cycle of silence" in which such important issues never get mentioned.