Expert weighs in on how parents should talk to children about school shootings

As details regarding the mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas continue to come to light, parents across the country are faced with explaining to their children what happened.

News 12 Staff

May 26, 2022, 12:58 AM

Updated 753 days ago

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As details regarding the mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas continue to come to light, parents across the country are faced with explaining to their children what happened.
Maureen Brogan works as part of the Traumatic Loss Coalition with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care. She says the first step before talking to children is to make sure the parent is emotionally ready. She says then a parent should ask the child what they know about the situation.
“You don’t want to go into the details of the ages and the names – all that – of each of the children, because then it could become something that they can identify with. And with that you also then raise their anxiety, if not their sadness,” Brogan says.
She says that younger children may not have many questions, but adolescents may.
“With older adolescents, they might want to get into more of the ‘How did this happen?’ and ‘Why did this happen?’” Brogan says. “And the other part, as an adult, is we have to be OK with not knowing and being like, ‘I don’t know why this happened.’”
Brogan says that validating a child’s feelings is the most important thing a parent can do, as well as talking with the children about how their school is keeping them safe. She also says that parents should keep their children on a regular routine in the coming days. And when it comes to older children, Brogan says to try to monitor what they see on social media.
“It kind of depends on what is your child being exposed to? Is it that helpful, productive? This is what we can do to support each other. Or is it more destructive, copycat, that kind of attitude that they’re capturing,” Brogan says.
Resources for families to talk about school shootings can be found HERE.


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