This commitment to actively listening tells children that their feelings will be respected. Notice if they are listening to news of the shooting, reading news online or in print, sharing stories that other kids have told them at school, or asking questions about the shooting. Attending a service or candle-lighting in memory of the children who died may be helpful for your family. But the reality is that many if not most of the children and teens in our lives with the exception of the very youngest have already heard about the recent school shooting from their peers, social media, or television. Seek outside support for yourself if you need it. Let the child lead.
Try watching the news together with these teens and talking about what you see. Attending a service or candle-lighting in memory of the children who died may be helpful for your family. Model prayer, meditation, singing, spending time in nature or whichever activities are helpful to you in connecting to your spirituality. Be the grown-up We as a nation have been traumatized by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Let the child lead. Older kids, especially teens, may, like many adults, work through their thoughts and feelings by engaging with the national media and conversation about the shooting. The point is, we cannot protect children from the tragedy, but we can let them teach us how they feel about it. Many kids will find it helpful to review school safety and security procedures, and indeed, this is happening at schools across the country as I write this. So limit your media viewing and conversation about the tragedy in front of your children. And spend extra time with him in the coming days and weeks. If you attend a place of worship and there is a message about the shooting during the service, this may be helpful for your older child to hear. The multiple, violent deaths of precious young children and the adults who cared for them can result in intense feelings of shock, fear, anxiety and helplessness. I have been asked to provide some guidelines on how to communicate with children and teens about this tragedy. Some of us confront these feelings by obsessively watching TV coverage of the event or talking about it with anyone and everyone. Many of them have also seen photos of the killer and of the children and teachers who were killed. Thank you for being an adult who is committed to helping children learn to navigate our challenging times and emerge as resilient, communicative, and compassionate adults themselves. Alan Wolfelt is a respected author and educator on the topic of healing in grief. Never lie to children or hide the truth from them, but do limit their exposure. But the reality is that many if not most of the children and teens in our lives with the exception of the very youngest have already heard about the recent school shooting from their peers, social media, or television. Seek outside support for yourself if you need it. Listen and observe , then respond Watch the children in your life a little more closely this week and in the weeks to come. Use their words and level of understanding. Be calm, reassuring, and positive. A father of three, Dr. Be available when he gets up, when he comes home from school, after dinner, and on weekends as much as you can. If you need to talk about your own thoughts and feelings about what happened, find another adult to talk to out of earshot of the kids.
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