How to talk to your child about a Tragic Media event
In light of the recent synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, here are some tips to talk to and help alleviate anxiety in your child:
First, parents and caregivers need to make sure that they take the time to process the trauma on their own before they address it with their children.
Parents need to initiate the conversation with their child/teen about the recent tragedy. Find out what your child already knows. Chances are they have seen something on social media already about the event. Gently correct your child if they have heard any misinformation.
Parents should encourage their children to ask questions and allow them to express their feelings including fears. Parents can also be open and honest about their own feelings.
Parents can address their children’s safety concerns. Children may have fears that the same thing could happen to them. Share the changes that are constantly being made in the community to keep them and the community safe. Some examples are law enforcement in schools, near churches, having lock down drills in schools and places of employment. If your child has a concern, encourage them to share it at school with their teacher or administrator.
Be patient with your child. Children may struggle with their focus, concentration and/or behavior. Give them time, plenty of love and support. Encourage their self-care as well - feeding them healthy foods, exercise and schedule time with friends and family.
Limit media exposure. Young children should not be exposed to this at all. Limit older children and teens as well and take the time to process with them what they have seen and heard.
Lastly, seek professional help. If your child is unable to return to their previous functioning level and has trouble at school and home, then seek a professional counselor.