On this week’s ‘Parenting’ segment, one listener said they are worried their son reads too much bad news.
“My 11-year-old has become a bit obsessive with the news,” they told Moncrieff. “He even began to chat about wanting to be a journalist or a news reporter.
“However, recently he's become obsessed with the war in Ukraine, American politics and other stories that are very serious.”
They said their son is beginning to constantly stress over “big world problems” that are too much for an 11-year-old to handle.
“I don't want to kill his passion, but I need him to take a step back,” they said.
Child psychotherapist Joanna Fortune said the listener cannot stop her son consuming news and being aware of world events, Joanna said, but they can consume news and learn together.
“Ensure that you're with him, listening or reading what's going on,” Joanna said.
"Just because he's hearing a news story doesn't mean he's understood it... you could correct some of that misunderstanding in it.
“You can say, ‘I have a lot of big feelings after watching that, how are you thinking and feeling’ - talk it through with him so he's not percolating on his own.”
Joanna said catastrophising is often just as much a problem for adults as children – and there’s a simple remedy to bad news.
“Look up good news stories - quirky little human-interest stories from around the world - and print them out or cut them out and bring them to his attention to talk about them,” she said.
“Those are always good narratives to interweave into stories, especially for kids because it shows them that even when bad things happen, good people are doing good things in response."
News 'through play'
If the son has an interest in a journalism career, Joanna suggested the parent and child can handle the news “through play”.
“You could sit together and make a news bulletin either on your tablet or your phone,” she said. “Recording stories and reporting, design them, record them, put it together.
“Blend in the good news stories and help him to understand... there will be some of the scary things that happen in the world, and there'll be some of the happy positive things.
“I think that's really important in developing an understanding of news.”
Listen back here, and tune into Parenting on Moncrieff every Wednesday: