Talking to your kids about school shootings can be a difficult and sensitive topic, but it’s important to address it with your child in a way that’s appropriate for their age and understanding. Here are some tips:
- Be proactive: Start the conversation before your child hears about a school shooting from someone else. This can help you control the narrative and provide accurate information.
- Create a safe space: Let your child know that they can talk to you about their feelings and concerns without fear of judgment or criticism. Reassure them that their thoughts and emotions are valid.
- Be honest and clear: Explain to your child what happened in a factual and age-appropriate way. Avoid graphic details and overly frightening language, but be clear about the severity of the situation.
- Empower them: Talk to your child about the steps that are being taken to prevent school shootings and what they can do to stay safe in case of an emergency. Teach them to be aware of their surroundings and to report any suspicious behavior to a teacher or trusted adult.
- Encourage questions: Encourage your child to ask questions and express their concerns. Be prepared to answer their questions honestly and calmly, and reassure them that they are not alone in their feelings.
- Seek help if needed: If your child is struggling with anxiety or fear related to school shootings, consider seeking help from a mental health professional or school counselor.
Remember to approach the conversation with empathy and compassion, and to tailor your approach based on your child’s age and individual needs.
Check out this great resource from the Child Mind Institute on the this subject: https://childmind.org/article/anxiety-school-shooting/