Parents encouraged to tell children truth

PARENTS are the experts of their children and in the best position to gauge how to speak with them about the tragic events in Rosalind Park, according to a Bendigo psychologist.

Psychologist says important not to dismiss worries

But Dr Aaron Grieve said the key was for parents to be honest and not dismiss their children's worries.

"It's important not to change the topic or shy away from it,'' he said.

Dr Grieve said children should be given explanations which were age appropriate, and that ''parents are the experts of their own kids''.

"Most parents get it right - with some kids they need to limit their information, while others want to know everything,'' he said.

"The worst thing parents can do is dismiss the worries of their child.

"Explain to them that it doesn't happen very often and it was an awful accident.

"It's about reassuring kids about their own safety and that these events are rare.''

Dr Grieve said parents could find it useful to explain to their children that parents wouldn't take them somewhere they believed was unsafe.

"Use statistics and try asking 'how many times have we been to the park and how many times has this happened?'.''

Dr Grieve said often children who were repeatedly exposed to events via news outlets had disproportionate representations of how often things happened.

"Sometimes they think it's happened again,'' he said.

Dr Grieve said parents should seek advice from a GP if their children continued to show any signs of anxiety after several weeks.

Websites such as betterhealth.vic.gov.au and raisingchildren.net.au could also be useful.

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