Talking to Your Student about Tragedy
In the aftermath of a highly publicized tragedy, parents often have questions about how to respond to their children. Keep in mind that each child will respond differently in a given situation. Some may have no reaction at all and this is perfectly normal. Your child’s principal, teacher, school counselors and Child Study Team members are available to you and your child for additional information and support.
Key points to consider:1. Limit your child’s exposure to media coverage of the event2. Do not transfer your anxieties to your child3. Always keep in mind your child’s developmental level and capacity for understanding4. Provide reassurance about safety and security5. Give honest, factual answers to questions6. Answer only the question you are asked; do not elaborate7. Allow your child to verbally or actively process the eventa. Drawing pictures, writingb. Opportunities to ask questions, give respectful and honest answers8. Allow your child to express feelings9. Your child may need to repeat certain things or ask the same questions over and over10. As adults, we have feelings as well. Modeling that capacity is healthy.11. Provide lots of reassurance and validation of what your child is feeling12. Support your child’s thoughts and respond to concerns, however, maintain expectations for appropriate behavior13. Continue to offer structure, provide a stable environment and predictable schedule