When a senseless act of violence such as the one that took place in a Texas elementary school this week occurs, we feel for the families affected and fear such a thing happening much closer to home. There is no easy way to have a conversation with your child about such a tragic event, but it is recommended that you talk to your child. Between heightened police presence at schools, television, social media, and peer conversations at school, most children are aware that something has occurred.
Tips for the conversation:
Check in with yourself and think about what you are feeling before speaking to your child. If you bring feelings of anxiety and fear to the conversation, your child will begin feeling anxious and fearful as well.
- Find out what they already know. You do not need to offer more details than they already know or need.
- Listen to what they have to say and allow them to guide the conversation.
- Be mindful of their age and maturity, only sharing information that they are seeking in an age-appropriate manner.
- Remind them that the adults in their life, both parents and teachers, strive to keep them safe. Let them know how we try to do that, such as practicing emergency drills and not allowing strangers in their school building.
- If your child does not want to talk about it, allow them that freedom. Simply let them know you are there if they have any questions or want to talk later.
If your child is experiencing high anxiety and fear, alert their school counselor that they may need additional support.