Talking to your children about the Connecticut school shooting can be a daunting task. Trying to cope with a tragedy is one thing and trying to explain the tragedy to a child is another one.
But, kids look up to their parents to talk about their feelings and fears, so it's always better to talk to them if you sense that they may be anxious over the school shooting. Media coverage of the tragedy coupled with friends and family discussing the event will make kids curious about the event.
According to American Psychological Association, parents can help child cope with stress following mass shooting events by:
- Talking to the child about the event at an appropriate time
- Looking out for signs of anxiety
- Taking "news breaks" - focusing on other tasks and limiting exposure to news can take off some stress.
- Taking care of yourself - parents need to be aware that the kids look up to parents for comfort at times of tragedy. Be a model for your children on how to manage anxiety after a tragic event.
Jennifer LaRue Huget, a columnist from The Washington Post, says that parents should never use euphuisms when talking to children about the event. Also, she says that parents should monitor adult conversations around kids as they can easily pick up intensity and emotions. By being calm, parents can lower anxiety in children.