Have you talked to your kids about gun violence in school? Hampton Roads residents weigh in on how to

Posted at 1:14 AM, Feb 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-19 17:37:30-05

NORFOLK, Va. - A nation still in mourning days after yet another mass shooting. Filled with grief and now outrage - many are asking questions of how to have the grave talk with your children.

“Schools should be a place you go where you know you’re going to be safe. We as a nation cannot guarantee that anymore and how do you grow up with that fear as a child?” asks Barbara Gardner.

News 3 spoke to Dr. Cathleen Rae - a child psychologist - who says communication and listening are the vital keys no matter how tough they both can be. It's best for you as the parent to take control and start up the conversation rather than wait for your child to come to you.

“The first piece of advice to parents is that they be open to have conversation with their youngster. I think communication is the most important thing and we don’t want to sit back and hold our breath and see if our youngster is going to bring it up," says Dr. Rae.

Barbara Gardner is a grandparent of two and says she has not yet spoken to either of her grandchildren since the horrific shooting played out last Wednesday at a Florida high school.

But, she says when she does she plans on being direct with them on what they need to do if they too find themselves in a similar scenario.

“When the occasion arises, I will tell them it is generally safe to go to school, but I think also they need to learn how to protect themselves. What’s a smart thing to do? Run, hide, fight," says Gardner.

Dr. Rae also says the most important thing for you to do as a parent is just be honest and verbalize to your kids they are safe.

If you notice signs of depression or isolation in your children, it's best to seek help from a mental health professional.