Yet another mass murder on American soil… This makes the 18th so far in 2012. Violent crime is on the uptick; two times the rate of that in 1960. If possible, we want to completely shield our children from the darkness in the world. However, this is not always realistic. What is a parent to do? How can we talk to our kids in a way that explains a situation, without making them overly fearful?
In the wake of the horrific events of Newton Connecticut, children are bound to have questions and concerns regarding their own safety. The Lifetime staff is heartbroken to hear of these families, similar to our own, forced to deal with such unspeakable devastation. As parents, it is vital to foster a real sense of security by reassuring our children that they are protected. It is not enough to be dismissive and close-mouthed. We owe it to our little ones to address their questions and concerns in a healthy manner.
In order to help our children achieve resiliency and a sense of security in these tragic times, there are some proactive things we can do. Traumatic events are always unexpected and can shake us to our emotional core. In these times of confusion, parents can emphasize healing and moving forward. Our country is built on these qualities. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Turn off the television.
- Ask your child what they already know.
- Find out if your child has any questions. Take them seriously and do not dismiss their feelings and concerns. Answer them simply and without embellishment. They do not need to know the gory details.
- Avoid discussing the situation with other adults at home or on the phone. Children are more aware than we think they are.
- Try to keep your emotions in check. Little ones can feed off of our emotions. If we are upset and crying, children will respond with fear and outbursts.
- Keep a normal schedule. Move forward with daily routines and programs. Make sure that life goes on as before.
- Wait to discuss emergency/disaster plans. I know there is the temptation to grill and warn. Don’t. There will be a better time and place down the road to create a “plan”. Now is the time to comfort and encourage; comfort and hug. Connect with your kids and soothe their fearful hearts.
The Lifetime Adoption family sends out prayers and love to all those closely affected by this terrible event. We know that no words will do justice to the loss of a child or loved one. May God restore their community and speak to them in their hearts.