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Child Psychiatrist Offers Tips On Talking With Kids About Bin Laden’s Death

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Cathedral High School students discuss celebrations of bin Laden's death (credit: CBS 2)

Cathedral High School students discuss celebrations of bin Laden’s death (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many parents may be wondering how to explain recent events to children, particularly celebrations over the elimination of Osama bin Laden, Magee Hickey reports.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On This Teachable Moment

In one religion class at Cathedral High School, students were concerned about seeing people rejoicing in the streets over the killing of a man they already discussed as being extremely evil.

“I think it’s over dramatic that people were going crazy in the street,” said senior Colleen Page.

“You should never praise that someone died, whether they’d done wrong or not,” said senior Mariah McKenzie.

“There’s a lot of moral questioning going on about this. What’s right and wrong? Is it just black and white?” explained Rev. Robert Poveromo, religion teacher.

At what age should parents talk to their children about Osama bin Laden? To the head of the Child Mind Institute, Dr. Harold Koplewicz, it’s a teachable moment for children of all ages.

“This was a bad man no matter what his religion. Many bad people are of different religions. This is not about us hating Muslims. This was about getting a man who did bad things and bringing him to justice,” he said.

Dr. Koplewicz reminds parents to consider the developmental age of the child when discussing bin Laden. For children under 5-years-old, he suggests no television at all because the images might be disturbing. For children between 6 and 11-years-old, it’s a good age to talk about religious tolerance.

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For teenagers, he cautions they should think before reacting because teens tend to be so impulsive.

One mother has been talking to her 11-year-old son for the past six years about the terror attacks and to her, this is a time to celebrate cautiously.

“It shows the American spirit, that they prevail. For New Yorkers it shows the rebuilding process and strengths of New Yorkers as well,” she said.

Should one feel guilt over celebrating the death of bin Laden? Leave a comment below…

 

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