Tragedy in School: Handling Fear Properly With Your Children

By Lisa Ferrell, Clinical Program Director
As our children learn of mass shooting rampages and other violence, such as the shootings today in a Connecticut elementary school, they may have concerns or worries which may leave parents feeling unsure about how to address the issue.  Most common concerns children experience are worry, anxiety, and fear for their safety.  What your child needs during these events is to know what you and their school do to ensure their protection.  This is a good time to remind/explain the safety measures that you use each day.  Here are a few guidelines:

  • Locking exterior doors at school and at home is one of the things that we do every day, but children are not always aware of why we do this.  Explain to them that this is done to keep them safe.
  • When listening, listen and understand what your child is telling you and avoid telling them not to worry or that they do not need to worry. 
  • Allow your child to share his/her fears verbally or through play. 

When children feel heard and understood, their anxiety decreases and they feel comfortable sharing with you other things that bother them.  If you have any specific questions on how to talk to your child about this tragedy, our Parenting Advice Line is here to help: call 817-332-6399.  The lines are open Monday through Friday from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

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