Dr. Weissglass’ Tips On How To Talk To Your Children About The Sandy Hook Shooting

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Connecticut Community Copes With Aftermath Of Elementary School Mass Shooting
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It’s that time of year when children are meant to think about their last few days in classes before winter break, and parents should be finishing their last minute Christmas shopping.

However, the killings at a Connecticut elementary school left parents struggling to figure out what, if anything, to tell their children. It was a shock to us all. President Barack Obama said he and his wife, Michelle, would tell their daughters that they love them and hug them a little tighter. Experts agree with that embrace.

But what about if your children ask questions? Should they know details on what happened? In a world that is so saturated with media on television, as well as social media, how do you prepare for what could be a stressful and traumatic experience for your child?

This morning on Ty Loves NY, Dr Cortney Weissglass, Child Psychologist, offered advice for parents dealing with the aftermath of Sandy Hook:

“It’s important to comfort them with hugs, do much as you can of the normal routine. Let them know that school is very safe for kids, and that this situation is rare. It’s okay to be sad, angry and shocked, but try to model coping skills such as routine things like cleaning. Tell them that what they are feeling is normal.”

In regards to what you shouldn’t do: “Turn off the tv. If you do turn it on to know what’s going on, don’t assume that just because they are in the other room that they can’t hear what’s going on.”

Finally, what is your kids want to do something in response: “The best thing is to come together as a community. Bring out the compassion that was shown during this, and let that be the prevalent characteristic throughout. Write a card to the kids to show compassion and a sense of community. It’s a good outlet.”

In summary:

  1. Be honest
  2. Turn off the TV – upsetting to see the same thing over and over. Be able to answer questions if they are reading article or seeing stories.
  3. Try to get back to a normal routine.

So as your children prepare to head back to school this week, know that there might be questions once they arrive home.

To get more information from Dr. Weissglass, head to her website here.
–Bryan Carstensen, 92.3 NOW

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