Children are the purest souls in existence, but the world is not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, things happen that can be scary, traumatic and even life-scarring for children. One such tragic reality of today is the escalations of school shootings around the world, especially the United States.
While school shootings were almost unheard of just 10 or 15 years ago, they have become a horrible part of today’s reality where both parents and children wonder if that particular school day will turn out alright. The reason I felt the need to address this problem is that in just one and half months into 2018, we have already had 18 incidences of gun-related violence in US schools with the latest being the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.
So, why is it that you need to help your child deal with the topic of school shootings? This is something you are going to have to deal with because children have access to information and social media without being filtered via their phones, tablets, and friends. This means that even if you are in a place that is not likely to suffer such a tragedy, your children are probably aware of what is happening in the world around them.
Here, we have listed 6 steps you can take to help your children deal with school shootings:
- 1 1. Take Care Of Yourself And Stay Prepared With Your Own Support Structure
- 2 2. Allow The Children To Start The Topic
- 3 3. Create A Daily And Weekly Open Space For Talking
- 4 4. Teach The Children To De-Stress And Be Grateful
- 5 5. Help The Children Feel Their Emotions And Feelings
- 6 6. Let The Children Feel Safe Without Promising Something That You Are Unable To Fulfill
- 7 The Conclusion
1. Take Care Of Yourself And Stay Prepared With Your Own Support Structure
When it comes to such tragedies, parents often end up falling apart into a mess instead of staying together for their child. Experts recommend establishing a support structure with your partner and friends which can help support you and calmly help process information. You should also take care of yourself by doing an activity that helps calm and relax your nerves.
2. Allow The Children To Start The Topic
A topic like school shootings is not something any parent would find easy to bring up with their children, so it’s best to let the child start the conversation. Let the children start and express their feelings and emotions regarding school shootings, and you can help with adding information that is required. The key is to ensure that they understand enough not to be wondering after and not to overshare and freak them out.
3. Create A Daily And Weekly Open Space For Talking
Try to create a time of the week where you and your children can speak without any restrictions or consequences. This safe environment will help your children open up without worrying about being judged and evaluated. This can be at the dinner table, before bed or anytime you and your partner provide them.
4. Teach The Children To De-Stress And Be Grateful
Talking about topics like school shootings can stress any adult out, let alone a child. So, it’s best that you help your children deal with the stress by teaching them to de-stress. Simple deep breathing exercises before bed can be very helpful. Also get them to list a few things that they are grateful for that happened on that day. This will help assert the fact that this world has many good things happening, even if things like school shootings do occur.
5. Help The Children Feel Their Emotions And Feelings
Children are very emotional creatures with many feelings that come in different intensities and levels. With incidences like school shootings, many feelings and emotions are felt. Your job should be to encourage and allow your children to feel their emotions and feelings about such topics. Never let your children bottle up their feelings as these can turn sour and harmful to their mental and emotional health.
6. Let The Children Feel Safe Without Promising Something That You Are Unable To Fulfill
The most challenging part of a parent’s job is to help their child feel that they are safe in this world which can turn tragic and deadly in a split second. Remember to help assure them that you are there for them without promising something that you can’t keep. For example, we can’t guarantee our kids that school shootings like this Wednesday’s won’t happen at their school, but we can assure them that we are here for them.
Now that we have taken a look at the steps you should be taking to help your child deal with the topic of school shootings, we suggest you discuss with your partner and other parents first. After this, start a soft dialogue with your children and allow them to express their thoughts and feelings on the subject. Help them with their emotions and emotional needs while making sure that you don’t promise them something you can’t guarantee.
The key here is to have a positive conversation, energy, and environment when you are communicating with the child. As long as they know that you are there for them, they will be able to deal with this topic and others that are as terrible or disturbing.Modified on