Preparing for Movies About 9/11
This guide was developed for parents and family members of children and adolescents who lost a loved one on 9/11. The information and suggestions provided in this guide may also be helpful to other important adults, such as teachers and mentors, who interact with children and adolescents who were impacted by 9/11.
As coverage on television, the internet, and in the print media about movies based on the events of 9/11 increases, some people may find that they will experience feelings of sadness, anger, confusion, disappointment, and nervousness, similar to those they had soon after 9/11 itself. Others may feel that they are able to more effectively cope, and that they are in fact more ready than they were in the past to talk about their feelings. These varying reactions may be seen in children and adolescents as well as adults.
Your natural inclination may be to attempt to shield your children from the increased media attention that the movies will attract. Despite your best efforts, it is likely that children and adolescents will be exposed to images and messages related to 9/11 through a number of sources, such as television, the big screen, internet, and radio. Children will be faced with movie posters, trailers, ads on television and radio, magazine articles, internet blogs, and special reports. It may not be possible to completely shield your children from the attention to, and conversations about 9/11 related movie and media events. Talking with children about these issues is the best way to prepare them for what is to come.
When done in a sensitive way, talking about 9/11 or other potentially frightening topics will not increase children's feelings of worry or sadness. In fact, it is usually through discussions with a trusted adult that children are able to feel safer and less afraid. It is therefore important to engage children in an open discussion about their feelings related to what they see on television, the internet, or in the movies, or what they hear from peers, teachers, or others. By being proactive and preparing your children for the media attention they are likely to be exposed to, you will be taking an important step toward helping your children cope.
The following guidelines were designed to help you talk to your children about movies related to 9/11.
Reprinted with the permission of the NYU Child Study Center. © NYU Child Study Center.
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