Written by: Michael Jennings
With increasing school shootings and massive political debate, how do we as parents act to inform, protect, and help our children cope?
This article gives some suggestions on how to work with kids who have been exposed to the idea of gun violence through TV, news, social media, and relevant culture.
Should you hide information and avoid talking to your kids about this unfathomable occurrence?
No. Your kids are always listening and learning. If they are not hearing about it from you they are learning about it elsewhere. Don’t let peers or rumors misinform them. Shying away from conversations about certain subjects implies this topic is not one they can bring up to you.
Should you tell your kids not to worry about it because it won’t happen here?
No. Your child’s fears and concerns are warranted. Encourage conversation with your child and allow them to express how they feel and don’t dismiss it. Built up emotions are a cause of further distress.
When should I bring in counseling services?
If fear or anxiety is leading your child to be unable to perform at school, in the community, or at home, you should seek services. Issues that affect one’s quality of life are “Counseling worthy”.
How do I ease my child’s mind?
Remind them of safe places and people to share their concerns and fears-such as with the school guidance counselor. Educate your child. Inquire what their school procedures are. Create a safety plan with them. Rehearse what to do should the worst happen. Keep their school accountable. Attend PTO meetings. Inquire how your child’s school is planning to keep your child safe. Advocate for change.
How do I tell them about this?
Innocence is not lost when we learn about harsh realities, innocence is lost when we participate in these activities. Kids who are educated, taught empathy, and given the chance for open dialogue for these issues are far less likely to participate in this type of behavior. Remind them that while there is evil in the world, it does not outweigh the good.