With the horrific, violent, and tragic school shooting that occurred on February 14th, we are all left with pain, confusion, rage, sadness, and anger. As we read through our social media feeds, we can see the devastation and the outrage. We can read: “Something needs to change! ” or ” Stay Outraged” We do agree, things need to change and we can all start today.
It is important to address the school shooting and give our kids a place to better mourn, share, and process this horrific act of violence. Below are some strategies to help you talk to your kids and students about this loss.
- Find a quiet time and safe place to talk to your kids. It might be in your car as you drive them to or from school. It could be at the dinner table or during breakfast. It can be making a plan to have a family meeting. Just make sure you take the time to talk to your kids. Often parents want to shield their kids; however, their friends are talking, peers at school are brining it up, and they might be exposed to the news or images via social media or YouTube.
- Let your kids express their feelings. Ask them about what they know, how they feel, and let them talk about it. Validate their feelings and help them process the different emotions. Be sure to not insert your opinion or own emotions as they talk. Let them talk first!
- Share about your own perspectives and talk about how you feel. Let your children express themselves first, then share about your fears, emotions, and concerns.
- Ask your kids about what they can do to help keep their school safe. Ask them if they know their schools safety protocol. Have a discussion about the importance of telling when they see something wrong. Explain the difference between tattling and telling. Share about the importance of reporting bullying, cyberbullying, and fights. Have them come up with strategies or tips to feel empowered to stand up and speak out.
- Come up with an action plan for your children in case of an emergency. Make sure your kids know your cell number, and they can identify a safe place and person. Have a plan and talk about it without instilling fear; create clear steps to help them know what to do when they are faced with a crisis.
- Limit exposure to the event. We also recommend you pay attention to what your child is focusing on, so you can help process everything and ensure they are not overexposing themselves to repeated act of violences.
- Get additional support. We recommend using wholistic family-centered therapy. Find a therapist or counselor that fits your family needs. With our work, we often have resources and tons of referrals. In this type of situation, we found that CFC Therapy Group is a great practice to help you. They specialize in family, children, and trauma.
These are only tips but our main message is to talk to your kids and keep talking to them!
Sending our love and prayers…
Kortney Peagram, Ph.D
Owner and Founder