The Best Ways to Explain the Connecticut School Shooting to Your Kids
I can remember 911 and how my kids were affected, it’s a difficult job being a parent in the time of tragedy.
My son Zachariah played football and I can remember him being so upset the day of 911. When I got home from work, after reporting the horrible news for 14 hours, I could not believe his anger. His anger was not for the terrorists, it was because his football game got cancelled. Here I had been completely engulfed with the events of the day since the first attack and didn’t understand his response. It is not the that he didn’t care, he just didn’t understand the magnitude of the events and what it meant or could mean, he only knew that it affected his football game. Zachariah was just 13, Natasha was 12, Ashley was 7 and Colton was 6… What do you say to your children?
THE BEST ADVICE FOR TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT TRAGEDY:
- If your child 7 or younger it is best to wait until they are older, unless they approach you with questions. Younger kids might not being able to comprehend or digest the information and may end up more frightened.
- Be matter of fact, tell them it is horrible, but that they are safe. It’s a white lie perhaps that a parent may need to resort to as young children cannot put their heads around such a horrific event and need to be reassured that they are safe.
- Help them understand, but what they want to know. Ask them what they are feeling or even what their questions or comments mean. They may just want answers or the could be frightened, assuming could only open the door for something they had not thought of or had imagined until you brought it up.
- If they don’t feel bad or scared, it’s okay, don’t make them feel bad or try to put your feelings on them. We all process differently and deal with situations in our own way, none are completely right or completely wrong, but each belong to us.
- An event like this might lead your child to want to help in some way. Encourage this as it may be their way of coping, whether it be a 5 dollar bill to a relief fund or taking the neighbor lady cookies, they just may feel they need to spread good.
- Separate you and your child from the event, again assuring them that they are safe and that your child would be free of this kind of incident because their school is safe.
Bottom line reiterating that they are safe is key when dealing with such tragedy. There are many sites that deal with parenting questions in all situations, please just talk to your kids, but let them lead the discussion.