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How to Handle the Headlines


Your girl’s world is getting bigger at a time when technology has made the world we share seem smaller, and that’s bound to let the bad in with the good. News headlines, in particular, can make the world seem like a very dangerous, worrisome place—especially when some events are legitimately frightening or devastating.

Though learning to pay attention to current events is an important part of growing up, news stories and all the discussion that surrounds them can leave your girl feeling nervous or scared. By listening to her fears, fielding her questions, and monitoring where she’s learning about events, you can help her begin to develop the skills she needs to distinguish between accurate and inaccurate information. By offering her reassurance and perspective—like reminding her that there are a lot of good things that don’t usually make the news—you can help lessen her worry. Help her handle the headlines by reminding her of these three truths.

There is a lot of good in the world.

firefighter, doctor, nurse, teacher

For every one person who does something bad or gets hurt, there are countless firefighters, doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers, religious leaders, neighbors, and others who are doing a lot of good in the world. When you and your girl read or hear about a bad event, direct her attention to all the people who are helping others or working to make the situation better. They’re everywhere, even if the news doesn’t focus on them.

girls are talking

Help your girl understand all the ways you’re looking out for her safety, and talk to her about all of things she can do to keep herself safe. If news about a fire bothers her, for example, practice what to do in case of a fire at home. Having a clear plan can help her feel calm and confident, and talking through what she might do in a scary situation can be empowering.

Kids can make a difference.

help wanted

When bad things happen, there are countless ways your girl can help. She can help raise money to solve a problem. She can send cards to people who have been hurt. She can write letters so leaders will pay attention. By channeling her worry into productive, thoughtful efforts to offer aid, lend support, or effect change, she too can be one of the people, mentioned above, who add to the good in the world.


Adapted from A Smart Girl’s Guide: Worry, by Judy Woodburn and Nancy Holyoke. ©2018
American Girl. All American Girl marks are trademarks of American Girl.

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