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May 15, 2012 1:15 AM

Talking to kids about current events

TUCSON - When it comes to talking with children about Isa's case, many parents are struggling to find the right words.

A public forum held Monday, hosted by child advocates is helping open the lines of communication.

Topics included what to tell your kids about traumatic events and how.

Parents, grandparents and kids filled the room. The goal of counselors is 'courage through knowledge'.

"So that we can move forward from this, and feel empowered instead of scared," Kathy Rau, Executive Director of the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center.

Scared is exactly how 9-year old Bella Wexler felt after seeing Isabel's picture hanging in a restaurant.

"I felt really scared, so I wrote this poem to try make me feel a little more confident," said Bella as she begins to read aloud the poem, "Dark shadows pull me to the ground. I struggle to turn my head and I see a giant clasped pair of hands caving in on me".

Bella surprised her mom with the poem while riding to school.

"My frist response was concern was that she was having anxiety," Allison Wexler, Bella's mom said.

Counselors at the public forum praise Bella's poem, and her mom for encouraging creative expression.

Experts recommend talking with kids in a safe environment, tailored uniquely to your child.

"Is it special reading time? Is it being cuddled in that blanket? Is it those special pajamas? So remember those simple things that are already in your daily life," said a counselor with Las Familias in Tucson.

Experts also advise parents to limit the amount of exposure to television and news. And limit adult conversation about current events when kids are in the room.

Here's the full text of the poem written by 9 year old Bella Wexler.

Missing

The world seems dark and cold.
I can't help but wonder about the things around me.
Dark shadows pull me to the ground.
I struggle to turn my head.
I see a giant clasped pair of hands caving in on me.
I wake up in the rain so cold it freezes my brain.
I try to escape by pushing my weight against the chair I was tied to.
That was my big mistake.
I fell downward and as I was falling, a blinding light bursted through the night sky.
That was the last thing I remember.
Now I am walking through the town as a deaf child only stopping to take a glance at the "missing" signs with my name on them.

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