Talking to Your Child after Las Vegas Mass Shooting
WESLACO – Recent events such as hurricanes, earthquakes and most recently the Las Vegas shooting have some parents wondering how to talk to their children after significant events.
Myla Salazar is a Rio Grande Valley mother who will be the first to tell you her son is a curious one. After the news of the Las Vegas shooting broke, she knew her son would be coming to her with questions.
"He'll question it and why it happened. But I just tend to stick to, you know, that people aren't well sometimes and they do bad things but as long as you have your religion and family and good advice from the people you love and trust, he'll be okay."
The mother said she knows social media plays a big role in his life, but stresses to him an open line of communication, especially with questions about tragedies.
"I always advise him to come with me with questions like that and not to their friends or social media, because they're not always going to get the right facts through there,” she said.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS sat down with Dr. Vittorio Puente, a child psychologist who explained to us just how to approach your child if they are asking about events going on in the world.
“That sense of safety, how the parent conveys that information is really important,” he said.
He said all children from the ages of three to 17 have one thing in common: they all want to know that they’re going to be safe after events such as mass shootings.
"So, when parents discuss these issues of tragedies that have happened, what you want to specifically relate to them is that this particular environment our home, the daycare, the playground is safe,” said Dr. Puente.
The physician stressed a child’s age also has something to do with how you approach the child.
"When we're looking at kids between the ages of seven and eleven they're looking at their reality somewhat beyond their immediate home environment so they're looking at the community,” he said. “With adolescence, their sense of time is much better. They do remember what had happened in Orlando, they do remember what had happened in Sandy Hook."
Dr. Puente said it’s important to discuss with them that there is something they can do to effect change.
“That’s what they want. They want to know that they can control reality,” he said. “Where we’re looking at kids between the ages of seven and 11, they’re looking at their reality somewhat beyond their immediate home environment, so they’re looking at the community.”
He said parents should be aware children at that age are exposed to social media. He added parents should also avoid thinking younger children aren’t listening.
“You need to pay attention to not discuss them as often or to discuss them away of the kids. And I know parents that are like, ‘Oh they’re not listening, they’re playing…’ No, no, no. They’re always picking up on your voice,” he said.
He said in all cases, a parent should make sure the child is assured of their safety and that their immediate household or school environment will not change.
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