How to Talk to Kids about the World Ending in 2012 Rumors
Rumors about the Mayan apocalypse, doomsday, or the end of the world in 2012 have been around for some time. Many of these rumors involve the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, a comet causing catastrophic effects, a hidden planet sneaking up and colliding with us, and other various stories.
As we approach the December 21, 2012 prediction date, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists want to reassure everyone that there is no evidence that the world will end on December 21, 2012, or anytime soon.
Unfortunately, these rumors not only have adults frightened, but NASA has been receiving messages from kids, because they believe something bad is going to happen.
It is up to us to reassure kids that the world is not ending and that nothing bad is going to happen. To be able to talk to your kids with confidence, it is important to understand what the rumors are and why they are not true. Here is NASA's Frequently Asked Questions: Beyond 2012 Why the World Won't End page.
Here are 2 videos from NASA debunking end-of-the-world rumors:
When talking to kids about these rumors or any fear they might have, keep these tips in mind:
- Take their fears seriously. Dismissing a fear with a quick "don't be silly comment" or brushing it aside by telling them not to worry is not going to help. If your children express a fear, take time to sit down and discuss it. This sends the message that you are really listening and that your kids can always come to you and they will be taken seriously.
- Educate yourself about the topic of their fears. This allows you to speak confidently about the subject and give you the facts when discussing a rumor.
- Help your child research the rumor. If your child heard the rumor at school or saw something scary on the internet, sit down with him at the computer and help him to conduct his own research. Discuss the importance of finding credible sources for information and guide him to legitimate, authoritative resources.
- Take the fear off their plate. For younger children, sit down to discuss the child's fear and then tell them, “Okay, from now on I will worry about this for you. You don’t have to worry about this anymore. I’ll look into it and I will let you know what I find out.” Make sure to check back with your child once you have researched the topic. Anticipate any questions he may have and plan your responses.
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