Helping Children Cope with Tragedy in the News

Helping Children Cope with Tragedy in the News

Sadly, this week has been marked by two tragic shootings, one more locally in Oregon, and another one at a school in Connecticut.  Our hearts and thoughts go out to the victims of these tragedies.  We  thought it would be helpful to identify some tips that can help parents talk to their children about these difficult events.  
  1. Honor your own feelings
  2. Be Supportive and available to your children
  3. Talk about it: Talk to your children, but also listen: encourage your children to express how they feel
  4. Reassure them of their safety and security (no matter what age).  That the grown ups in their life are working to keep them safe
  5. Take a break: Focus on positive activities, connecting with others
  6. Keep descriptions simple, limit their exposure to graphic descriptions or images
  7. Limit access to TV and Radio reports
  8. If they ask if violence can happen to them? Repeat that it is unlikely, and the grown ups are there to help them keep safe
  9. Watch for symptoms of stress: Clinginess, stomach aches, headaches, nightmares, changes in behavior
  10. Seek help if you are concerned that your child is not coping well after a few days
  11. Take care of yourself and your children: Eat healthy, get exercise, Connect with friends and loved ones


Take care,

Ryan Scott, PhD, Vista Counseling 

(with help from the American Psychological Association, the Children’s National Medical Center, and the American Humane Association)

Posted on December 14, 2012 and filed under "children", "coping", "shooting", "tragedy".