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How to Talk to Your Kids About School Shootings

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How to Talk to Your Kids About School Shootings

When a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut and killed 26 people, mostly young children, he changed the collective psyche of our nation. The grief of those who lost loved ones is unimaginable, especially when you consider how many young lives were cut short in a single community, and how many children will be forever scarred by what they witnessed that day.

Tragedy on this scale reaches far beyond the boundaries of a map. As our country mourns, parents everywhere are grappling with what they should tell their own children, even as they wrestle their own fears. No matter where we live, we can’t shield children from an event of this magnitude. Soon the round-the-clock coverage will end, but the ripple effect for parents and children all around the country has only just begun.

How should parents handle the issue of school shootings with their children? For insight into this emotional and confusing topic, Care2 turned to Ellin Bloch, Ph.D., California School of Professional Psychology-Alliant International University Los Angeles, who specializes in trauma psychology and recovery.

How to Talk to Your Kids About School Shootings: Q & A with Dr. Ellin Bloch

What are the long-term ripple effects of school shootings?

It may depend a great deal on how parents are handling this. When parents get tremendously anxious, the child will pick that up — and kids have big ears — they overhear conversations and have access to TV and social media.

Children of all ages may be anxious about returning to school. Older children have been exposed to other major events in recent years, including shootings in malls, movie theaters, etc., so the larger context must be considered. They may wonder if this can happen anywhere, leading to a feeling of uncertainty and lack of safety. It is important that parents handle this in a relatively calm manner.

Generally, the further away in geographical proximity an event occurs, the less the impact. There is not yet enough research regarding the long-term effect of these events in today’s age of instant and constant information access.

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Read more: Anxiety, Children, Community, Depression, Family, General Health, Health, Life, Mental Wellness, News & Issues, Spirit, Stress, Teens, ,

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9:10AM PST on Dec 25, 2012

Great, thanks!

3:59AM PST on Dec 20, 2012

Muita tristeza pelo ocorrido contra as crianças e adultos vitimas do atentado na escola.Espero que desarmem o mundo todo.E investiguem o que de fato aconteçeu para um rapaz de 20 anos cometer um ato insano como o ocorrido.

3:17AM PST on Dec 20, 2012


12:46AM PST on Dec 20, 2012

Very good article, thanks!

11:22PM PST on Dec 19, 2012

Also talk to your children about how the school system is grooming them to be debt-ridden, sheep, who don't ever really question the M.O. of the system-at-large NOR ask the questions that can truly get to the heart of the matter of violence/disrespect for life at the root/foundation of the system.

5:45PM PST on Dec 19, 2012

What I'm wondering about is how people explain to their children the utterly shameless remarks the likes of Huckleberry-Mike et al. made after this massacre. In fact, I'm wondering how people who voted for that freak from Arkansas in the primaries explain to their children why they voted for that cold-blooded jerk.

4:29PM PST on Dec 19, 2012

So sad that we even have to have such talks with our children/grandchildren.

3:58PM PST on Dec 19, 2012

wish we would never have to have these conversations with our children

12:54PM PST on Dec 19, 2012


12:38PM PST on Dec 19, 2012

Thank you ... very helpful.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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