1. Parenting
Katherine Lee

Talking to Kids About Scary News—The Connecticut School Shooting

By December 15, 2012

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I find myself numb as my mind reels off questions about yesterday's shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in which 20 children were killed along with 27 adults before the shooter reportedly turned the gun on himself. How could a human being be capable of looking at those helpless and innocent little children and shooting at them? How is it that mentally unstable people have access to guns? What are we to do with our grief and anger as we shudder at the mere thought of what those parents who've lost their babies are going through right now, and how their lives have been irreparably changed for the rest of time?

As much as we may have a difficult time processing horrendous events like these in our own minds, our children may have their own worries and questions. This particular story may resonate strongly with young school-age children, who may fear that something like this could happen to them at their own school.

If your child has fears and questions that have been prompted by the Connecticut school shootings, talk to her and address her concerns, taking care to stick only to the basic facts. Help her put things in perspective (encourage her to focus on the "will happens"--celebrating the holidays with family, seeing her friends at school--and not spend time thinking about the remote and extremely unlikely "might happens" such as being the victim of a school shooting). Talk also about safety measures in your child's school that are in place to protect her, and most of all, turn off the news and focus on family activities, such as taking a walk. For more ideas on how to talk to your kids about scary and tragic news events, read "How to Talk with Kids About Tragic Events in the News."

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