Aurora Colorado shooting: How to talk to your kids about it

I’m going to start this article by saying, I have no idea how to talk to my kids about something as horrible as this. However, I thought if I was tackling this discussion this morning so would a lot of other parents and I’d put my findings here.

First and foremost, my heart is sick for any families even remotely connected to the shooting at the Aurora theater that so far has left 12 people dead and wounded 50 people.

As I wake up this morning to my 10 and 11 year old, I wrestle with how to tell them. Every family is different and my kids have been kept fairly protected from tragedies like this, but I know people will be talking about this and their grandparents live close to the shooting scene – they’re bound to find out.  I want them to be able to talk about it in a safe environment and so I’m doing research this morning about how to approach this. I thought I’d share some quotes that strike me and  the links to article resources with you.

Thanks to the Internet, cell phones and other forms of instant communication, kids tend to be highly social creatures.When tragedy strikes a youngster, the resulting grief cascades through the social circles of school, church, clubs and sports like waves. While many schools offer counseling for children of all ages to work through their grief, parents often question what they can do to help their kids when tragedy hits close to home. “One of the first priorities is to make sure students know the truth,” says Steve Sandman, school counselor at Cane Creek Middle School. “Once accurate information has been disseminated, then you can deal with the reactions.” – read more of this article here – Citizen-Times.

Keep the Communication Flowing. As the scenes of destruction are replayed on television, in the print media, and on the Internet, our children are constantly reminded of these catastrophic events. It is important to realize that one evening’s discussion probably won’t be enough to help them keep a healthy view of the world. Keep the lines of communication open and be willing to do a lot of listening.” – read more of this article at About Fatherhood

5 tips on talking to kids about scary news – Parenting magazine – click through to read more.

  • Wait until they’re older.
  • Keep it black and white.
  • Ask questions.
  • Don’t label feelings as wrong.

Try to watch television with your kids (especially during the News), listen for their questions and answer them honestly. Tragedies affect everyone, both children and adults. Children need to talk about their fears, frustration and disbelief. It is important that we are watchful for these emotions and encourage open discussions. – read more at the Child Development Institute – “talking to kids about tragedies in the media”

Please feel free to add more links in the comments below or your feelings/reactions to this horrible events. Huge hugs to everyone in Aurora and I’m pretty sure people across the world will hug their kids this morning.

Update: Children’s Colorado has posted a tips article about how to talk to your kids about the Aurora movie theater shooting. The hospital also has set up a Family Support line (720-777-2300) to help families who need advice or help finding additional resources. The line will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and callers will be asked to provide their contact information. A behavioral health specialist will return their call within 24 hours.