How to talk to your children about the Uvalde school shooting

APTOPIX Texas School Shooting
Posted at 11:10 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 23:19:06-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — The images and stories from the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas are difficult for all of us, especially children, to watch and hear.

And as incomprehensible as this can be for us — it can be even harder for children.

But how can parents talk to children about it?

School shootings can cause fear and worry in small kids who see or hear about it. And when we talk to them about it, we have to choose our words carefully, as children at different ages can react differently to trauma.

Kids of any age can be bothered by what they’re seeing — the images can even show up in nightmares.

Younger kids seeing the same story could think the horrifying events are happening again and again.

If they’re older, you might want to limit their time watching the news or browsing the internet.

But above all, one licensed clinical psychologist says when talking to children, you want to first assess and check your own feelings so that when you’re ready to talk to your kids you can then make them feel safe.

"Is it anger, is it despair, is it a serious anxiety, a severe anxiety? Once you do that, try to find some balance and then address your child,” Marisa Azaret said. "Talking to them at their level in a concrete way, reassuring them, telling them that mom is here, that dad is here."

Azaret says asking questions and talking to children about their worries and concerns can help them get back on track emotionally. You can also reassure them that adults in schools work hard to keep them safe.

And if you see that your child might still need a bit more help, the American Psychological Association also advises parents to seek professional assistance.

The most important thing right now is that all kids get the extra support and love that they need.