As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to discuss gun violence with your children, but it’s essential to educate and protect them. Here’s how to approach the conversation and discuss gun violence with children.
Ten individuals were killed, and another ten were injured in a shooting at a dance class in Monterey Park, California. As the community begins the healing process, this is how you can inform your children about gun violence.
Sandy Hook, Connecticut Aurora. San Bernadino. Orlando. Las Vegas. Sutherland Springs, Texas Parkland. Pittsburgh. Gilroy. El Paso. Dayton. Buffalo. Uvlade. Colorado. In schools, cinemas, bars, concerts, festivals, shops, and churches. On January 30th, a gunman opened fire at a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California, killing ten people and injuring ten more.
Each time there is a mass shooting, which seems to be occurring more frequently than ever, we struggle to find the words to explain to our children why it occurred and why it continues.
How should parents discuss gun violence with their children? We requested the experts’ most insightful observations.
Assure Your Child That You Are Making Every Effort to Ensure Their Safety
Children must be reminded that they are in your care. John Mayer, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Doctor On Demand, thinks reassuring our children in these chaotic and violent times is the most important parenting task. “Say to your children, “We will never take you to a dangerous location or place you there.” You are our first responsibility as parents. We will always keep you protected.’ Your children must learn this essential lesson of safety.”
Dr. Mayer thinks this lesson is just as vital for our older children as for our smallest ones. “Older children require the same frequency and intensity of reassurance as younger children,” he explains. “So, age disparities do not matter.”
Obviously, we cannot guarantee their safety, but Dr. Mayer believes that parents should not fight this point. “Although we as adults may see this to be true, it is not good to express these doubts to children,” he argues.
Don’t Allow the Television to Speak for You
There will be continual coverage of mass shootings, but you don’t want your child to be exposed to too much of it, especially if they are young.
Parenting specialist and founder of GIT Mom (Get It Together, Mom!) Eirene Heidelberger states, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grasp that frequent and prolonged exposure to television and media pictures causes anxiety.” “Your child’s consciousness is rising, and it is crucial that you explain the basic facts of what occurred, not television or social media. Do not go into graphic detail, but do not act as if your youngster is unaware that something is wrong in the world.”
Ensure Your Children Know About Firearm Safety
Yearly in the United States, more than 3,000 children and adolescents (ages 0 to 19) are killed by firearms, and 15,000 are injured, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. These catastrophes include 1,881 homicides, 1,176 suicides, and 115 accidental shootings, which account for 4% of all child gun deaths. It is crucial to ensure that all firearms in the home are safely secured (unloaded and stored away) and to teach all youngsters about gun safety.
Dr. Mayer states, “Parents who possess firearms have a responsibility to educate their children on gun safety, ownership, and the appropriate use of firearms.” “It is important for parents not to assume that their children are comfortable with the presence of a firearm in the home or that they are aware of everything there is to know about it just because they live in the same house.
Be an educator! The biggest mistake made by parents is presuming that young children do not require firearms education. If you don’t teach your children about your family’s attitude about weapons, they will almost certainly form their own, which will almost certainly be immature and inconsistent with your ideals regarding gun ownership.”
Ensure your youngster understands the gravity of firearms and these essential safety principles.
- Never handle a firearm by yourself.
- Only adults/mommy and daddy use firearms.
- Keep inquisitiveness at bay by being clear and clarifying that the firearms are locked up and cannot be opened. Confine your child’s curiosity!
- Explain the differences between actual and toy firearms and the repercussions for real firearms.
Adapt Your Message to the Audience’s Age
You will not discuss gun violence with a 5-year-old in the same way you would with a teenager. Adjust the talk to your child’s age and degree of maturity. Dr. Mayer asserts that young children do not require lengthy explanations of the social and psychological consequences of gun violence in our culture. “Before age 12, parents should concentrate on keeping their children safe.
From the ages of 12 to 15 or 16, you can discuss societal issues, such as how it is wrong and immoral to take another’s life and misuse firearms. Older teenagers and young adults must debate the social/political, and moral problems surrounding gun violence. These age categories reflect the various phases of cognitive development in children and adolescents and the ages at which their brains are capable of genuine thought.”
Permit Your Child to Express Opinions
Your children may have opinions, queries, worries, or all three. Let them speak their minds. “Begin by inquiring about what they’ve heard and known about the event,” recommends Heidelberger. “Allow your youngster to speak and actively listen to them. Consider how you feel after discussing frightening topics with someone you trust. You feel safer and more confident, correct? By discussing it, they will cope better.”
Meaningful articles you might like: How To Approach The Subject of Guns with Children, Keeping Kids Safe Around Guns, How to Discuss School Shootings with Your Children