Images of school house shootings have become a part of our daily lives, no matter how much we would like to shield our children from them. And when they have questions about such tragedies, how do we as parents respond?
Quickly and to the point says Lisa Elliot a licensed counselor, "Really validate their feelings ... what are they afraid of? Ask for specifics on what frightens them."
Parents will need to work hard to let small children know that they are safe. Remind them that there are adults who will protect them.
Elliot adds, "Their parents of course, teachers, you know the adults in their lives who normally take measures for their safety. And I think it's important to emphasize that these things don't happen every single day."
Don't think because your child is young that she won't have other concerns. Be open to communication and special nurturing. Teenagers come with their own perspective and there are guidelines for talking with them as well.
Elliot says, "I think parents of teenagers ... It's really important that they open up the dialog. That's going to be their biggest avenue. The children are likely to insist that they are fine with it and it doesn't effect them."
And that may be, but Elliot insists that parent's know what's going on in the child's head. She says a child may be withdrawn or become more argumentative and challenge the rules.
She says, "Encouraging them and empowering them to take responsibility for what's going on in their environment. They can notify an adult if something is out of place."
No matter what the age of your child, don't sweep the issue aside.... Meet it head on. And if your child begins to exhibit behavior problems like ademently not wanting to go to school or worse, make sure to seek professional help.