Parents need strategies to have these talks with kids.
Quite honestly the number of recent shootings has been alarming to me. In Philadelphia news I heard a story where children are decorating their home for Christmas and bullets pierced the walls of their house leaving bullet holes. We witness teenagers being shot randomly. Of course, the recent Pittsburgh shooting has been heavily discussed in the media sources.
Frightening events like these shootings can leave children in a place of fear and hypervigilance. For parents it is quite difficult to know exactly what to say and not to say about such tragic events. The questions will certainly be asked as to why someone would shoot anyone. It is just not easy to know what to say and since the details change in each shooting the conversation content differs and is often very complex.
There is no one answer in how to help children understand these issues. Also different children at different ages can react to such events in diverse ways depending on their own temperament, perceptions and levels of threat. So, these conversations can be very challenging for parents and caregivers.
I ran across this article which is age specific about how to speak to children about shootings. It is a brief summary of what children and adolescents can perceive, what they may want out of the discussion and offers some strategy as to if it should be raised, when it should be raised and how it should be discussed. It is a sensitive approach that takes into consideration the child’s capability to hear, understand and process the discussion.
Here is the link to the article:
I appreciate Meghan Holohan updating this article and offering a succinct tool for parents, caregivers and professionals to have perspective on how to address such a traumatic set of issues with our children. Another good strategy is that parents can speak with other parents who can share good ideas and support each other as they strive to communicate to their children in ways that can give them perspective and clarity all while keeping them safe.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO