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How to talk with kids about deadly Texas school shooting

How to talk to kids about deadly Texas school shooting
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Videos and pictures of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, are flooding social media.

These graphic images are difficult to see and process especially for young children, leaving parents left with how to explain the horrific shooting.

“It’s why it’s a tragedy. It’s not supposed to happen at school. It’s not supposed to happen anywhere,” said Shawn Cade, a licensed counselor.

Cade says it’s important for parent to first assess their own emotions, before addressing it with their children.

“Being able to talk about it lets our children know it’s OK to talk about it. It’s OK to process it,” Cade said.

When talking about it, Cade says it’s key to keep explanations age appropriate.

“We don’t want to overwhelm them. We need to give them a knowledge and an understanding because they are going to hear about it,” he said.

Wayne County Schools Lead Counselor Bradley Jordan says these events take away the element of safety at school, so their number one priority is to assure students that schools have safety precautions for these situations.

“You give them the information, so they don’t have to question what safety measures are in place. You say, ‘This is what we’re doing to keep you safe’ and you make it as straightforward as possible,” Jordan said.

They say not to turn a blind eye to the situation and let children ask questions and express their feelings, making sure they know parents and teachers are listening and they are being heard.

“If we try to avoid that conversation then we’re teaching our children to not deal with the things going on in our society,” Cade said.

He said to limit how often kids are watching news stories, as it can make them more anxious and can make them think the disaster is happening again and again.

“Help them process what’s real and what’s not what actually happened verses what they are seeing on a social media site,” he said.

They say to let children know that although these tragic events do happen, they are safe.

“Some people are going to feel sad. Some people are going to feel angry, some people are going to feel anxious. Those feelings are all natural emotions for students,” Jordan said.

Cade says it’s good to keep a normal routine and send kid back to school, but to watch their behavior. If they’re not eating, sleeping, or are nervous for more than three or four days, you may need to seek professional help.

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