The shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater has shocked, saddened, and confounded a nation of adults. Imagine how the news is affecting the children.
To address the challenges families will face in speaking with their children about this tragedy, National PTA offers several supportive resources to assist parents, families, schools, and PTAs.
One specific resource is called "Discussing Hate and Violence with Your Child," and includes full explanations of the following recommendations:
- Prepare - Explore your own feelings;
- Be alert - Look for signs your child is upset;
- Listen - Tune in so your child feels "heard";
- Reassure - Reinforce the message that "you are safe" in age-appropriate ways;
- Be honest - Answer questions as clearly and truthfully as possible;
- Share your perceptions - Explain your own feelings about the issue, and
- Take action - Adopt the "how can we help?" position, to counter feelings of powerlessness in the face of violence.
Time magazine also released an article called "How to Talk to Your Kids about the Colorado Theater Shooting."
It's a Q&A interview with child psychology experts Dr. Alan Hilfer, director of psychology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, and Dr. Daniel McIntosh, professor of psychology at the University of Denver, and addresses issues involving the Colorado shooting and other unexpected traumatic events.
More resources can be found at the National PTA website.