How to Discuss School Shootings with Your Children

Discussing school shootings with a child is not easy, but it is crucial. Find out how best to broach the subject with your kids.

Children and adults alike are frightened and anxious when a violent incident occurs on a school site. Appease their fears by having an open conversation with them about them.

School shootings have been in the news frequently during the last decade. When tragedies like those in Newtown, Connecticut, Parkland, Florida, and Santa Clarita, California, leave school personnel, parents, and students in fear, everyone suffers. Regardless of your best efforts, your children will undoubtedly learn about these incidents at school or some other place. 

You may assist your youngster in coping with school tragedies by following these measures.

To begin with, decide whether or not the conversation is warranted. You don’t have to discuss it unless they’re talking about it or showing other evidence that they’ve heard about the occurrence. Because older students are more likely to hear about it through their peers or the media, it is critical that you deal with this issue. 

Initiate conversation with an open-ended inquiry such as “Have you heard anything about what occurred at another school today?” Using this method, you can discover what your youngster already knows and whether or not you need to correct any misconceptions. 

After that, go over what happened. You could say, “On the campus of a school, something tragic happened. Some people were shot and killed by a man. Police apprehended the crook. Although many individuals are in a state of sadness, they may be assured that there will be plenty of resources available to lift their spirits.” 

After that, ask your child if she has any other questions. Make her feel comfortable by letting her know that she can come to you at any moment, whether she has a problem or just wants to vent. After that you’ll find discussing events like school shootings with you child, will become much smoother and easier.

Your Child’s Well-Being

Despite how far away it is, your youngster will be affected by the incident. Let him express his feelings and thoughts by asking what he thinks. If you say something like, “I feel awful for the victims,” or anything similar, he will realize that your feelings of sadness, perplexity, and fury are natural. Show your youngster your love and care by giving him lots of hugs and talking to him.

Ease Her Anxiety

After hearing about a similar incident, your child may be concerned that it may happen at her school. Keep your worries to yourself, even if you are worried about her. Explain that school shootings are extremely infrequent. Discuss with the child the school’s safety measures, such as locking the front door, requiring guests to sign in, and placing cameras at the entrances to feel more secure. 

Keep an Eye on Your Body Language

Even if it’s difficult to remain calm in the wake of such horrific events, the words and actions you take might be frightening to children. You must watch your behavior when dropping off your child at school in the morning; avoid looking about or following “the dodgy man” who is passing by. 

That’s how children see it when we express ourselves that way. As a result, your youngster may become more frightened and stressed out. This is not to argue that you should keep your feelings bottled inside. It’s fine to open up to your spouse or another adult about your feelings, but don’t let your child see you in a bad light.

Make sure you’re keeping tabs on how much time you spend watching TV.

Although you may be tempted to stay glued to the TV to learn everything you can about the incident, it’s preferable to change the station or turn off the TV if you have youngsters around. Inappropriate images may be used, and young children may not know that the report they’re seeing on the five o’clock news and then on the six o’clock news is rehashes of the same occurrence.

Instead, people may believe that there have been many school shootings. It’s preferable not to show any coverage of the event to young children; instead, you should be the one to provide them with the facts.

Let Them Help You

The ability of some youngsters to deal with tragedy is enhanced if they believe they are making a difference. Suppose your child is keen to help the neighborhood after a shooting. Brainstorm ways you and your family may do it. It doesn’t have to be anything more than mailing a card or hosting a bake sale or penny drive to generate money for the victims’ families.

Observe for Symptoms of Anxiety

In the wake of such a horrific occurrence, it is even more difficult for children to comprehend. After hearing about a school massacre, it’s typical for kids to express dread and depression for a few days. 

There will be occasions when your youngster asks you a question (and sometimes repeatedly). Seek treatment if your kid exhibits high stress or anxiety symptoms due to the occurrence, such as changes in appetite, problems sleeping, violence, withdrawal from social activities, difficulties concentrating in school, or resistance or refusal to go.

These are tips are just some of the approaches in discussing school shootings with a child.

Related articles: The Best Ways to Talk to Children About Sad News Events, School Lockdown Drills, Effective Lockdown Drills At Your Kid’s School