One month has passed since the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In the weeks since, we’ve heard threats of violence reported at our Long Beach schools and in numerous nearby communities.
When I heard the news about the latest shooting, as a child trauma and crisis intervention expert, I knew it was important to have a conversation with my sons. As a mother, I also understood that it may be uncomfortable or difficult for them to communicate their feelings about such a complicated situation.
As parents, it can be difficult to articulate our own emotions surrounding these crises, let alone lead the discussion with our children. It can almost feel easier not to talk to our children about it, hoping somehow that they haven’t heard.
We might fear that by talking about a crisis we’ll make it worse or more frightening for them. That’s not true. It is better that they hear about it from you and, more likely than not, they have already heard about it at school, from friends or on social media.
With the right tools, these critical conversations don’t have to be scary or intimidating. Keep in mind these three steps in talking to children after a crisis:
Share the facts, normalize their feelings, and create a plan…