Talking to your children about the tragedy in Connecticut
Fri, 14 Dec 2012 23:07:04 GMT —
The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut resonates close to home with parents now holding their children closer, and explaining what's occurred to our youngest children can be very difficult.
20 children and six adults including the alleged shooter were killed in the shooting Friday morning.
"We have to work real hard," said child counselor Christopher Galton.
Galton has more than 30 years of providing counseling, and said the best way to talk with your children about this tragedy is to listen.
"I would suggest that what we do is ask them how was their day in school today or did they hear anything that they want to talk about and encourage them to have the opportunity to talk about it," said Galton. "You may wish you bring it up, but most of the time if it's something they care about then you want them to come to you."
Just like with any parenting issue, each child is different, Galton added.
"If they're teenagers they're probably going to spend more time talking with their peer group and not so much with you, but they still need adults to help them understand some of the things that have happened," said Galton. "The younger the more important it is that you share with them and give them that sense of support."
The support for all children should start immediately, said Galton.
"I would say to the child we don't have all the answers at this point but we can make some guesses that somebody is very very hurt and upset and sometimes very sick and because they are feeling those things they resorted to hurting other people and unfortunately that's not a good way to resolve things."
"The most important thing is to hear what they are saying, repeat back to them 'I hear you're saying this and I hear you're concerned about that'," said Galton. "Acknowledging that I'm concerned about that too or I understand how sad you feel. So they feel their feelings are OK."
Galton added every parent should end their talk giving their children hope that things can get better.
He also said a good way to start is by sitting down with your child and writing a letter to the families of the victims.