How to talk to children about Texas school shooting
The tragic events witnessed in Uvalde, Texas, can be difficult to process for any adult, especially children.
In the wake of the deadly Robb Elementary School shooting that killed 21, including 19 children and two adults, parents may be questioning how to explain the tragedy to their children. Experts say the best way to help children cope is by talking about it in a safe space.
"It's best for them to hear the information from a trusted adult, as opposed to having mixed information from others," says Cindy Perez Waddle.
Perez Waddle is the lead counselor at the Children's Bereavement Center of the Rio Grande Valley, which helps families who are grieving a loss. She says parents should pay attention to their own emotional state and make sure they are ready to have that conversation.
"Make sure that you are calm and prepared because children can also pick up on our own emotions," says Perez Waddle.
Allow your child's questions to be your discussion guide as to how much information to share. Perez Waddle says it's important to be honest and clear and use age-appropriate language.
"With younger children, you may use simpler terminology," says Perez Waddle. "When we work with younger children here at the center, and we talk about death, we usually say things like the body has stopped working."
Older kids may have more questions and may need more information.
"Remind them and reassure them that there are adults in their life that are doing every best effort to keep them safe," says Perez Waddle.
For families already grieving the loss of a loved one, a tragedy such as this shooting may reawaken feelings of loss. Valley families in need of grief support can call the Children's Bereavement Center at (956) 368-4065.
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