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I’m writing this question with trembling fingers and tears in my eyes. My heart is with the families in Texas today. My family learned about the tragedy close to bedtime last night and took those moments to process it as parents before sharing any information with our kids.
Two of my kids are school-aged and I imagine there may be some discussions about yesterday’s event at school today. I’m wondering how some of you might go about discussing this with your littles. I feel awareness is important, especially around gun violence, but it sends chills down my spine, instilling fear in my children about going to school.
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What a topical question right now! Honestly, I am so thankful we live in Australia where guns are not really a problem anymore. If i lived in a country like America, I honestly believe we would choose to homeschool our kids. It boggles my mind to think that people just walk around carrying guns on a daily basis as they go about their day. Over here, guns are only really used on farms or for those who shoot for sport. I cannot imagine my child being able to purchase a gun at the age of 18. It honestly terrifies me and I can't look at the photos of those poor innocent children who have lost their lives without anger, confusion and a feeling devastation.
I suppose the real answer to this question is that thankfully I don't really need to talk to my kids about guns. They know that they are something that most people don't have here and they know they are safe at school - as it should be.
A very sad and traumatizing incident indeed. You are right it becomes so difficult to talk to our kids about such horrific incidents as we want to shield them from trauma, but if we don’t discuss it, they might be getting all sorts of random information from different channels.
I live in a country where we have been victims of terrorism for a long time. I can understand how such terrible acts impact the young minds.
Although it is difficult but I think we parents should try to become a primary source of information for our kids. Otherwise they might get the information from other sources in an inappropriate way.
Try to share information in an age appropriate way and assure them that not all adults harm others. Try to highlight how people are trying to help and support others in such a difficult time. It will help them in keeping faith in humanity.
You might also consider teaching your kids how they can protect themselves in such situation.
The horrific shooting at the school in Texas is such a tragedy and as a mother my heart breaks for those families and others that have been affected by gun violence. Like with any serious subject matter, the conversations you have with your kids should be age appropriate and it is important to neither minimise nor over-emphasise the situation at hand. If you child has heard or is likely to hear about this awful crime, then it is often best to allow the conversation to be child led - in other words ask them what they think or feel and let the conversation develop from there.
The sad reality is that especially in the USA, children are already exposed to the stressors associated to the risk of gun crimes at schools, participating in drills and having to be taught what to do in such an event. For many kids, this is already triggering and so it is important to tread gently when talking about something that has actually happened rather than a "what if" scenario.
If your child seems to be experiencing distress or exhibits symptoms such as a vague tummy ache, nightmares, or not wanting to go to school, then you may need to seek professional help to help them deal with their feelings.
Lastly, it may seems like such a little thing - but remind your child every day that the world is full of good and kind people, life's helpers and that even in terrible circumstances, these people are nearby to provide love, support, and comfort.
This is such a sad scenario, and it is truly a shame that our children even need to be a part of this type of discussion.
However, children do need to have their questions answered and their fears discussed. They should to be able to vent and be reassured.
However, the discussion should be at their age level and interest. Ask open-ended questions to see if they have concerns like, "What do you think about that?"
Read their body language. If they are squirming to get away or not paying attention, your child may have had all he can handle.
I would turn to the experts for this question as it is such a complex and emotional topic.
Here is a good article from psychology today that may help: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inside-out-outside-in/202104/how-talk-kids-about-gun-violence