At least 59 killed and over 500 injured in Las Vegas. Not long ago, a similar incident occurred in Manchester, England, at a Arian Grande concert leaving 22 killed and 59 injured. How does one begin to make sense of what is happening in our world today. Furthermore, how do we even begin to explain this type of tragedy to our children.
It is important to share the facts when asked what occurred and to limit vivid upsetting media to the younger child. Teens and older kids are able to view much of the story on the internet, cell phones, etc. Many of our children may be able to relate because they recently attended a concert and can personalize the incident with “what if?” Talking this through with them is essential and we want to validate their feelings, not dismiss them.
Many safety questions will arise. Reassuring your children that they are safe and that everyone around them whose job is to keep them safe is doing just that is an important discussion. Keep in mind giving age appropriate information. A 3-year-old, 7-year-old or even a 10-year-old doesn’t really need to know a lot of the details. Pre-adolescents and adolescents are at a very vulnerable age developmentally so it is so important to talk to them about what they already know and how they feel. Talk with your children about how there are things in this world that we cannot predict, bad things do happen. We live in a world where people can get hurt. You can get hurt getting out of bed in the morning.
It’s important for parents to model good coping skills. They will look to you to see how you deal with the uncertainty of life. Let them know that you do everything you can to keep them safe and that authorities are doing the same.
Help your child figure out some ways to take action to fight violence in our world. Perhaps getting involved in anti-bullying programs, find out whether their school has a group of volunteer students to help out in emergency situations, inform and educate your child on how to report suspicious activities or situations. We all feel better when we are able to take a tragic event such as this and do something positive to make a change.
Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Ave., Scotch Plains, has a team of licensed professionals available day, evening and weekend hours for counseling. Visit www.hellenictherapy.com or call 908-322-0112.
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