Dr. Phil's Advice for Talking to Kids about Disasters like Coronavirus

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Playing Dr. Phil on How to Talk to Your Kids about World Disasters 

Dr. Travis Stork welcomes Dr. Phil McGraw to "The Doctors Podcast with Travis Stork," where he shares important parenting advice on how to handle disaster events like coronavirus/COVID-19.

Travis spoke to Dr. Phil prior to the virus escalating to its current state in America, but Dr. Phil's advice is still as important as ever and may help parents navigate these difficult and uncertain times.

READ: Tips for Sheltering In Place with Elementary-Aged Kids

While discussing the events of September 11 and how it affected the children who saw the footage of the World Trader Center falling over and over on the news, Phil explains that many kids assumed buildings across the country were falling and they questioned their own safety. The same could be said about our current pandemic and the onslaught of information and life changes kids are having to make. Dr. Phil suggests parents be as mindful and diligent as possible about how much disaster-related content kids -- especially young ones -- are exposed to and how the information is digested.

“When you’ve got these disasters… you need to watch this [type of news] with your children, so you can answer questions, give them information and limit the amount of exposure they have to it or they can become overwhelmed by it," he tells Dr. Travis, stressing that parents need to help them to make sense of everything.

Dr. Phil's Parenting Advice for Dr. Travis

Dad-to-be Dr. Travis also spoke to Dr. Phil about his nervousness about becoming a dad. “I’m starting to get nervous about raising a son in today’s world,” he sahres, explaining when he was growing up his dad traveled a lot and he mainly saw him on the weekend.

READ: Coronavirus: Guide to Protect Your Health and Family

Dr. Phil says his relationship with his own father was limited and strained due to his father's battle with alcohol, so when the talk show host had his 2 sons he vowed to do as much with his kids and expose them to as many activities as possible, including fishing, hunting, and camping. “I did everything with them that was not done with me… I thought I owe it to them to expose them, so they can choose what they want to do,” he tells Travis.

Dr. Phil's Reveals 'Best Thing He Ever Did' with 1 of His Sons

The talk show host recounts an important parenting story about his son Jordan from when he was in high school. Jordan asked Dr. Phil what he wanted for Christmas, knowing he didn’t really need a traditional gift. Dr. Phil told his son what he really wanted was to have a weekly hour-long talk with him for an entire year. Jordan and he were able to have around 38 or 40 of those hour-long chats over the course of the following year, and Dr. Phil tells Dr. Travis, “It was the smartest thing I ever did with him.” During those talks, they discussed important life lessons like car insurance, how to take care of a car, taxes, and how to maintain a checking account. “He really learned a lot of things that he uses today in life,” Dr. Phil says. “That was one of the best things I ever did.” Dr. Phil feels these chats helped change the dynamics of their relationship and made his son feel confident about coming to him later with questions or for advice.

Teaching Kids Resiliency, How to Make Good Life Choices & Think for Themselves

Dr. Travis asks Dr. Phil how parents might ensure their kids surround themselves with quality people who will help guide them and how parents can ensure they raise children who can go out into the world and think for themself without the parent having to be overbearing or too controlling. Dr. Phil says, “I think it starts with this, you’re not going to be the only voice in your child’s ear, so you need to make damn well sure you’re the best voice in your child’s ear. You need to make sure you’re the best source. Adding, “You need to talk to your kids about things that don’t matter, so you’re ready to talk to them about things that do matter.”

READ: Celebrities, Athletes & Leaders Who Have Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Dr. Phil also notes that when he was growing up he was told to “mind adults,” but that’s not how he raised his kids or how parents should raise theirs.“I told my kids, you think for yourself, and if an adult is telling you something that doesn’t fit in your ear right, it doesn’t seem right, you tell them to kiss your ass… you should respect everyone, but you should think for yourself.”

Listen to Dr. Travis and Dr. Phil's entire chat on "The Doctors Podcast with Travis Stork" now available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn.

*Stay informed on the latest information on the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization and learn about prevention methods and what to do if you are infected

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