How to talk to your children about mass shootings

In the wake of the events of Tuesday, Wood River has announced increased police presence at all of their schools
How to talk to your children about Uvalde
How to talk to your children about Uvalde
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 4:37 PM MDT
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Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The events of Tuesday are a difficult topic to talk about, especially with your family.

“I think it’s tempting for parents and caregivers to avoid it because we don’t want to burden our children,” said child psychiatrist Paula Griffith.

Griffith says hearing information from someone your child trusts is better than the alternative of hearing it from others. She says you don’t always have to be blunt about it in conversation either.

“You can start the conversation simply. Like hey, some children got hurt at school on Tuesday in Texas. Have you heard about that?” she said.

Leaving dialogue open can not only help you, but it can also help your child. “You can leave it open for them to express to you what they’ve heard, what they may be feeling, what they may be worried about or afraid of,” said Griffith.

What about kids who may be afraid of going back to school in the wake of things like this? Griffith says there are ways to keep your child’s mind at ease.

“What you can say is ‘yeah, that sounds really scary, and it’s true I worry too. But the things that help me feel better as a mom are that actually, statistically, this is still very unlikely to happen,” said Griffith.

Informing your child about safety measures can also be a big help. “There are already lots of ways that we, the grown-ups, the big people in your school and in your life try and keep you safe,” she said.

For adults who are concerned it can be tough, last week, Wood River Middle School was put on lockdown due to a loud noise heard within the school. One parent with a child at the school still remembers the raw feeling.

“That was the most terrified I’ve ever been in my entire life ... it’s almost hard to process the feelings,” said Jarah Angell, a local parent.

Griffith recommends self-care routines to ease your mind about leaving your child at school in the wake of this.

“Exercising, getting enough sleep, taking a break to take some deep breaths, or do a meditation, and ultimately if you’re feeling a lot of distress, talk to someone,” Griffith said.

In the wake of the events of Tuesday, Wood River has announced increased police presence at all of their schools, which makes Angell feel a lot better.

“I think it’s great, it’s wonderful,” she said.

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