SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

October 25, 2013

Dr. Kate's Parent Rap: Helping children process school-related violence

The recent events in Danvers hit very close to home for all of us in the Boston area. Coming on the heels of the Marathon bombings and the recent school shooting in Nevada, parents need to be on their toes about how to help their children through this latest episode of violence that left a local teacher dead.

School violence is unpredictable and incomprehensible. Naturally, children and adults feel threatened when they learn of unsafe and violent acts occurring in and near their schools. As much as parents want to protect their children from the reality of the recent events in Danvers, it is very difficult to do so when the violence is in our town or close by to where we live.

Can parents help their children understand and process this very tragic event?

Communicate with your children

Parents need to open up the conversation and give their children the opportunity to discuss their feelings, including their fears and anxieties. Questions don’t have to be answered with specific information and in fact many answers are not available. Just the process of dialogue, listening and offering children a supportive parental ear is enough to increase a child’s sense of safety in the wake of the tragedy.

Younger children will have more difficulty processing the event and having the words to express their thoughts and feelings. At age 8 and younger, children may be inclined to draw how they feel or even act out feelings, through play with dolls or other toys. Drawing can help children with self-expression and allow them to relax as they express their inner feelings through their pictures. Parents and adults can gain insight into a child through their drawings.

Parents should send their children a clear message that everything is being done to make all schools safe and although someone was hurt, that is not a reason for students to fear for their own safety. Frequent and repeated reassurance is essential. After telling kids they are safe, avoid getting into conversations about gory details. Instead, focus on the positive things that are being done to help people. Provide specific examples of behavior that highlight the goodness in people and offer examples of how people help others much more often than they hurt others. While parents can tell their children that they understand their fears, they can also remind them of how they have successfully managed their fears in the past.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle
  • Orchid North Shore Gardener: It’s the summer without hydrangeas August "Fairest of the months! Ripe summer's queen, the hey-day of the year, with robes that gleam with sunny sheen Sweet August doth appear." -- R. Combe Miller Q: Can you tell me why my numerous "Endless Summer" hydrangea plants are not blooming th

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dr. Kate: 8 strategies to help your child overcome a fear of bullies Despite the massive anti-bullying campaigns that dominate our current culture, many students continue to feel bullied. The current anti-bullying campaign focuses on decreasing bullying by policing the bullies, but what about empowering the victims? B

    August 1, 2014

  • booknotes0801 Stroll through a story at Danvers library Reading can be good for the body as well as the mind. That's especially true for visitors of the new StoryWalk at Peabody Institute Library of Danvers. "StoryWalk is combining physical activity with reading," said Karen Veilleux, a children's librar

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • frenkel Quick pick: Bring stories to life Bring stories to life Explore and experience the challenges and satisfactions of combining text with images in a four-session illustration workshop, led by award-winning published illustrator Yetti Frenkel at the Abbot Public Library, 235 Pleasant St

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • TV Outlander [Duplicate] 'Outlander' brings novels to life vibrantly NEW YORK -- There's an odd believability you find inside "Outlander" that somehow makes it feel true-to-life. Never mind that it's a rip-roaring fantasy. Claire, a lovely British Army nurse on a second honeymoon in Scotland, is mysteriously swept fr

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Dear Abby: Diabetic friend suffers close call miles away from hospital Dear Abby: My husband and I have a lake house and invited a couple (close friends) to join us for a few days. The husband has cancer and has been taking chemo. We wanted them both to rest, as the wife is his only caregiver. We all thought this would

    August 1, 2014

  • People-Alicia Keys [Duplicate] Alicia Keys pregnant with second child NEW YORK (AP) -- Alicia Keys is getting ready for another big release: her second child. A representative for the Grammy-winning performer confirmed Thursday that the singer is pregnant. Keys posted a photo with her baby bump on Instagram early Thurs

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Friday's Best Bets Best Bets for Friday, Aug. 1

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

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thursday's Best Bets Best Bets for Thursday, July 31

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

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • homecoming1 Festivals in Salem and Beverly celebrate cities' heritage

    Salem Heritage Days and Beverly Homecoming, both of which start this weekend, are roughly the same age. "This is the 49th year," said Bruce Doig, director of parks and recreation in Beverly. "The most recent form of homecoming started in 1966 as a wa

    July 31, 2014 6 Photos

NDN Video
Comments Tracker