As gun violence continues to touch communities across this country, parents are confronted with how to talk to their children about tragic and often highly publicized events.
The rule of thumb is to address the matter with your children as soon as possible. The last thing you want is for someone outside of a family member to take on this role. Remember, they don’t know your child, and they have no idea what the child’s retention level is or what might or might traumatize them, given too much graphic information.
Most experts agree that although it may feel unnecessary or daunting, parents should encourage such conversations to avoid misinformation or rumors that kids may learn through social media or their friends.
Similar to how flight attendants instruct travelers to “put your oxygen mask on” before helping others, experts suggest parents cope with their own anxiety before helping children deal with theirs. And remember, kids are actually pretty resilient and can sometimes deal with some of these things better than adults.
Make it clear to your children that you’re available to talk. Listening attentively and avoiding interruptions are imperative.
Children should take the lead in the talks as they process what happened and their anxieties.
Depending on the child’s age, parents can choose which details are necessary to bring up or what to omit.
Be honest, then reassure your child. You may be unable to explain the entire situation…and that’s okay for children to hear. Afterward, remind them what safety measures are in place at home and school.
If you have any questions or needs concerning active shooter prevention, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional. May 8th, 2023