SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

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
Lifestyle
  • Jenson1 Salsa spirit Dance party will benefit Jazz & Soul Festival Salsa spirit

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • rhinaespaillat Survival through art Rhina Espaillat met many survivors of the Holocaust when she was growing up in New York and was often impressed by their strength of mind. "I was always surprised to meet people who came through the Holocaust not only physically whole, but mentally w

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140422_SN_HAND_READERSEYE The reader's eye Name: Sarah Rydgren Hometown: Salem Description: Taken during a ride through the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire last week. I love the mountains, and this stretch of highway is one of my favorite roads to travel. I am a self-taught photographer a

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • shellfish North Shore Entertainment Calendar

    Good causes LIBRARY FUNDRAISER AND STORY PROGRAM. Thursday, April 24, 1 to 4 p.m., Swizzles Frozen Yogurt, 421 Paradise Road, Vinnin Square, Swampscott. Swampscott Public Library fundraiser features a free story and music program for children of all

    April 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • benefitrace Good cause Racing for a reason On Sunday, Salem State University hosts its 18th annual North Shore Fitness 5K Road Race and Fun Walk, starting at 9 a.m. at the O'Keefe Sports Complex, 225 Canal St., Salem. Advance registration is $18 for Gassett Fitness members

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Parents appalled by man’s indifference to son Dear Abby: My 23-year-old son, "Wayne," who is single, has a 3-year-old son. We didn't learn about the child until he was more than a year old, when Wayne was asked to take a paternity test. Luckily, we have been able to form a good relationship wit

    April 24, 2014

  • Thursday's Best Bets Best Bets for Thursday, April 24

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

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Married couple’s sex life is all about the numbers Dear Abby: I have been married to a wonderful man for 30 years. Our marriage may not be perfect, but it's quite good. My dilemma is this: My husband keeps track of every time we have sex and has a personal goal of 100 times a year. In 2013, he infor

    April 23, 2014

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

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

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Don't meddle in office affair unless it interferes with work

    Dear Abby: I manage a group of 15 employees. A few months ago, I hired the wife of an old friend. Until now she has been a great employee, but recently, she and a male co-worker have been taking lunches and breaks together in a way that leads me to b

    April 22, 2014

NDN Video
Comments Tracker