Prevention is very important in these types of cases and in the future weeks I would assume that we will be developing better protocols for better identifying disturbed and dangerous individuals as I have written about before, but the most important question right now is what to tell your grade-school aged kids so they are not afraid to go to school. Below are some important tips to follow when the conversation comes up if it does. I suggest that parents wait for their kids to bring up the school shooting rather than introducing it yourself. This is because they may have already discussed it at school today. Once they do bring up the subject, here is a list to follow.
1. Share with them how horrible of a act the school shooting was and how they must feel both confused and afraid.
2. Tell them that you will protect them and that their school will also. Kids do not understand statistics and probability, but find a way to tell them that things like this almost never happen even though when they do, they end up on TV and seem like they happen everyday but they don’t.
3. Share with them that most people in the world are “good” not “bad”and that the person who did this had very serious problems and was not getting enough help. Use this to encourage your children to reach out to other kids who seem upset and tell you or their teacher if they are really worried.
4. Keep them on their regular schedule including returning to school as usual on Monday.
5. Be strong for your child. Kids look to their parents for comfort and direction during times like these. Have an attitude of compassion and strength to go on and they will follow that attitude.
Dr. Keith Kanner
Host – Your Family Matters TV