School Tragedy: What to tell your children

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Here are a few suggestions from Education Experts for supporting your children through the next several weeks:

  • Monitor your child’s exposure to television and radio coverage of these events.  Viewing or listening to graphic news may cause further trauma, and/or desensitize a young person to violent aspects and their consequences.
  • It’s important to process whatever news they are receiving.  Young people may believe that “nothing like that” would ever happen here.  Such ideas should be explored in a supportive way that also gently reminds them that certain kinds of tragedies can touch any of us.
  • Conversely, a young person may feel extremely vulnerable upon hearing about these events because they occurred so close to home.  These children should be encouraged to express their fears; then gently remind them that their feelings are a normal response to an abnormal event.
  • Encourage your children to talk with you about confusing feelings, worries and daydreams, by listening carefully.  Be available and give them extra time and attention during the next few days and weeks.
  • Remain aware of your own reactions to your child’s fears and anxiety as well as your own reactions to these events.  It is OK to express your emotions to your children, “I am feeling sad about what happened.”  However, if you are feeling overwhelmed with emotion, it is important to take care of yourself and seek support from other members of your family, your faith community and your friends.

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