, Salem, MA


December 21, 2012

Roberts: Discussing Sandy Hook with your children

Q: What reactions can I expect from my children in the wake of the events in Newtown, Conn., and how can I discuss this horrible tragedy with them?

A: The shooting deaths of 20 young children and six school staffers have left the nation confused, emotional and raw. And yet, as a parent, you are responsible for helping your children deal with their feelings about these horrific events. You can expect children to react in different ways. Some will never raise the topic with you, even though they know about it. Others will try to convince you that they can protect you and that they will “take down” anyone who tries to hurt their world. Some children will over-focus on it and others will seem fine now, but a few weeks later something will act as a trigger for their feelings, questions and fears. Here’s what you need to consider when helping your children process a tragic event like this.

First, although the shootings in Connecticut happened in an environment similar to one that millions of children experience every day, there is no reason for your children to feel unsafe in their daily lives. Because children under the age of 12 are more prone to irrational thoughts and magical thinking, they will need more reassurance on this point. Children benefit from the belief that there is a sense of order and control in the world; they cannot easily tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty. When addressing your children’s fears, try to manage your own conflicting emotions, allowing them to experience their own feelings, separate from yours. Your message — through words, body language and tone — is clear and simple: “Yes, it happened and bad things happen, but you are safe and we are safe.”

If your child has not raised the subject with you, expect that they will hear about it somehow. You should address it with them. Simply say, “I do not know if you heard about the incident at a school in Connecticut last week — did you?”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • misselwood_2 Rare, classic cars make an appearance at annual Endicott College show

    The original Concours d'Elegance was a fashion show on wheels. "It did start in 17th century France, where some of the aristocracy wanted to show off the fashions they were wearing," said Patrick Cornellison, chairman of the event. "Mainly women woul

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • twenties_3 Ipswich's Castle Hill braces for 1,000 at Roaring '20s Lawn Party

    The latest dance craze started in the 1930s. The Lindy Hop, which first flourished in the ballrooms of Harlem, is expected to draw hundreds of people to a dance floor at the Crane Estate this Sunday. Organized by Boston Swing Central, a dance club in

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • kallyson North Shore entertainment calendar Good cause YARD SALE TO BENEFIT JIMMY FUND. Saturday, July 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 11 Anna Drive, Danvers. Family yard sale with all proceeds benefiting the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. WOOSHIE'S WARRIORS FUNDRAISER FOR MS. Sunday, July 27, 10 a.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • The reader's eye Name: Erika Torkildsen Hometown: Beverly Description: "I took this at the Salem Common around a park where I noticed a ripped basketball net amid the blue sky. Instead of taking the picture from my original view, I tipped the camera up from under the

    July 24, 2014

  • shakespeare Good cause The Bard comes alive on Misery Island Join Sea Station for its inaugural performance of "The Tempest Trials," a Shakespearean festival on Salem's Misery Island, on Saturday from noon to 4:15 p.m. The festival features actors of all ages participating

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Horoscope Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) -- Your goals and current lifestyle need a little adjustment. Be receptive to new ideas, and make a change if you want to feel better about the direction you are heading in. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) -- Your leadership qualities

    July 24, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Girl and cousin both need counseling after assault Dear Abby: My granddaughter "Cindy," age 2, was being watched by her mommy's ex-sister-in-law and her sons. Cindy went to her mommy and said, "Bubby hurt me." Bubby is what she calls her 10-year-old cousin. Her mother called the police. A policeman s

    July 23, 2014

  • Wednesday's Best Bets Best Bets for Wednesday, July 23

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Younger couples weigh in on how they handle money Dear Readers: On April 11, I printed a letter from "Wondering in Washington," a man asking why young men in general today have the attitude that "any money I earn is mine" in a marriage or live-in situation. He said when he married, he and his wife c

    July 22, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Dating scene is frustrating for strong young woman Dear Abby: I am a young woman hoping to find "The One." But I have come to realize that I'm not the normal female. I don't get manicures or go shopping. (I hate shopping!) When I meet a guy, he likes that I'm "me," but if we get serious, then I'm eit

    July 21, 2014

NDN Video
Comments Tracker