Child psychologist gives tips on how to talk to children about difficult situations

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ELKHART, Ind.--- ABC57 spoke with Vice President of Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services, Dr. Kristin Tawadros, of Oaklawn about how to speak to children about difficult subjects like abuse or assault. Tawadros says the most important thing a parent can do is give their child the space to feel comfortable talking about the situation.

Tawadros says patience is also key in these discussions.

"Kids are going to be ready to talk about it, when they’re ready to talk about it, and that might not be on our timeline as adults," said Tawadros. "Be willing to, when they’re ready to talk, sit down and take a few minutes and hear what that they have to say."

Tawadros suggests asking open ended questions to help engaged the child and to do so impartially. 

"Not judging what they have to say, trying really hard to not judge the situation so that they don’t pick up on what your judgements are," said Tawadros. "You just offer that space for them to talk about how they’re feeling and what they think."

Tawadros says they are warning signs parents can pay attention to if they suspect something inappropriate is happening between their children and an adult or authority figure. 

"If their child is talking to their teacher outside of school hours, asking why they’re talking to their teacher and some of those open door questions," said Tawadros. "Is there anything that I can help you with that might be helpful?"

Tawadros says that in her experience even older children and teens, who seem to be more reserved are more than willing to talk about these situations if given the space to. 

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