Kids say the darndest things, and they can also ask difficult questions. Images of Typhoon Yolada’s destruction on TV and the newspapers are guaranteed to get those inquisitive minds buzzing.
“When children ask questions, the answers you give can vary depending on their age. Young children between the ages of five to 10, for example, still cannot process too much information,” advises Dr. Ann Princess Grana-Nespral, a child and adolescent psychiatrist from the Butuan Doctor’s Hospital in Agusan del Norte. “In such cases, the best response is to throw the question back to them. Most of them already have an idea about the answer anyway, so once you know what they are thinking, you have the means to best answer the question.”
She adds: “Sometimes, children also ask questions because they are anxious and afraid. In such cases, it would be best to make them feel safe first. Also, try to end your answer with an action (like praying, donating, or volunteering) that they can perform as an outlet for their thoughts and emotions.”
Below are 8 questions that five to 10-year-old children may ask about Typhoon Yolanda, and Dr. Nespral’s advice on how to best answer them:8. “Why did God allow the typhoon to happen?”
Dr. Nespral: “Typhoons are part of how our world works. It is still part of God’s creation. By itself, a typhoon is neither good nor bad. It was just unfortunate that this typhoon was very strong, and hit Central Visayas, where a lot of people were staying7. “Why did so many people die?”
Dr. Nespral: “No one expected the typhoon to be so strong. Many things happened all at the same time.”6. “Do you mean to say the next time a typhoon hits Manila, we will die too?”
Dr. Nespral: “Why do you think we will die too? We can learn from this sad event and prepare better if there is another typhoon. Would you like to do something to prepare ourselves if there is another typhoon?”5. “Can we invite those without homes to come and stay with us?”
Dr. Nespral: “Why do you want to invite them in our home? I know you want to help them and that is a heartwarming gesture, but there are too many of them, and our home may not be enough. Don’t worry, most of them have family and friends they can stay with in the meantime, while others can stay with social service. But for now, besides inviting them to our home, how else would you like to help those without homes?”4. “Mom, why are you only donating this much? We have lots of other stuff that we can give to others!”
Dr. Nespral: “What else would you want to do for the typhoon survivors? These are the items they need the most, and the items we can readily donate for now. Would you like to prepare other items we can donate in the future? You can be in charge of this if you would like to do more for the survivors.”3. “Why don’t you and papa go to the Visayas and help out?
Dr. Nespral: “Right now, it is very difficult to go there because of the damages to the airport, seaports and roads. If we go, it will take several days, not several hours, and who will take care of you and our home? We can help out through other means. They have centers here that do repacking of the relief goods for the typhoon survivors. Would you like for us to volunteer there instead?”2. “When will things get better for those people?”
Dr. Nespral: “What do you mean by ‘better?’ The government and private sector are doing the best that they can. We are helping in our own small way. Do you have any suggestions how to speed up the process? If you do, let’s see how we can suggest it to those who can implement it.”1. “Will those people who died go to heaven or hell?”
Dr. Nespral: “Where do you think they’ll go? Why do you think they’ll go there?”
How have you dealt with your own children’s questions about Typhoon Yolanda? Do you have other tips to share? Leave your thoughts in the Comments Section below.
Child Photo – flickr.com/