Boston Marathon bombings especially impact children; local doctor urges parents' honesty

CLEVELAND - Beachwood clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Casper says the Boston Marathon bombings are hard for anyone to understand, especially for children.

"It is so important when we talk to our children of any age to be very careful about not communicating our own fears, our own concerns, our own worries," Casper explained.

She said staying calm in such tragedies is important.

"We need to be calm, which is a hard word to use in this circumstance, and neutral in our communication so that we don't further frighten our children," she explained.

Being open and honest with children ensures they don't find out the wrong way. Casper said don't bring up the graphic details, but do answer their questions.

"I like to tell parents I'd rather that they be the responsible communicators to their little ones, as opposed to having them find out in ways that don't give them all the information accurately and at their cognitive level," said Casper. "The rule of thumb is, if a child asks a question, he/she needs to have an answer."

Most importantly, Casper said reassuring children over and over again that they're safe is one of the most best things parents or guardians can do. She recommends this phrasing:

"I'm here to answer any questions you have. Some very bad person did something to ruin this for a lot of innocent people. This is not the kind of happening which most of us see in our lifetime."

The terror attacks at the Boston Marathon finish line Monday afternoon left three dead and more than 170 injured.

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