TULSA, Okla. — The recent mass shootings may have parents asking the question,‘how do I talk to my kids about this?’ 2 News heard from experts Wednesday and learned about some solutions for how to start the uncomfortable conversation.
Jacqueline York’s children go to Regent Preparatory School of Oklahoma in Tulsa. She learned of the Texas shooting just hours after celebrating her daughter’s fifth birthday.
“It’s shocking every time you hear about this, especially when children are involved,” York said.
For York, the subject hits close to home. She knows what it’s like to lose a child.
“My oldest, we lost her a few years ago and it's something that no parent should go through.”
With two daughters that are 5 and 7 years old, she doesn’t plan on talking to them about it just yet because of their age.
Scott Moseman is a psychiatrist with Saint Francis Health System. He has a list of five ways to talk to your child about tragic events. The first on the list is to create an open environment for your children to ask questions.
Dr. Moseman also says to expect younger children to ask repetitive questions. Additionally, be honest with your children. They can be more intuitive than you think.
“Setting an environment in which you're talking about your own emotion but also try not let that dominate the conversation,” Dr. Moseman said.
Lastly, some younger children may personalize the experience by asking the questions whether ‘they are safe in school.’ Moseman says to look for balance in tragedy and explain the heroes who are helping.
Faith Crittenden, senior program director for children and mental health services says parents don’t need to force an answer to hard questions.
“It’s also okay to have the answer to say ‘ya know I’m not quite sure about that,” that’s okay too. We don’t always have to have all the answers.”
Crittenden also says the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network is also a great resource for parents about how to talk to your child about tragic events. To learn more, CLICK HERE.
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